Ericsson brings carrier billing to in-app payments

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Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) introduced In Application Payment, promising consumers a one-click mechanism to buy digital goods and media and then charge the purchase directly to their monthly carrier bill, all without exiting the mobile app.

In Application Payment is based on Ericsson's IPX mobile commerce system, now integrated across 120 operator networks worldwide. According to Ericsson, the new in-app solution gives carriers and content providers the flexibility to offer a range of payment options, including try-before-you-buy, rentals and subscriptions--the model can extend to game levels, maps, music, e-books and related digital assets. In Application Payment also supports virtual currencies for very small payments measured in cents.

Ericsson states that the In Application Payment service automatically adjusts to different technical payment options in use across mobile networks, making it easier for developers to merchandise applications across international markets. Ericsson did not specify which mobile operating systems the In Application Payment solution supports.

In-app purchases are now responsible for a remarkable 72 percent of iPhone app revenues, up from only 28 percent a year ago, according to data issued last month by app marketplace analytics firm Distimo. Forty-eight percent of all iOS in-app buys come in apps that are available as free downloads. Despite the success of the model, only 4 percent of iOS applications offer in-app purchase options, Distimo adds.

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