Facebook launches two-step carrier billing for mobile Web apps

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Facebook unveiled a more streamlined operator billing process for mobile Web applications, trimming the payments flow from as many as seven steps down to two.

Consumers who wish to purchase virtual goods or digital content within mobile Web apps incorporating the Facebook Payments API now open the payment dialog and confirm the transaction by clicking the Buy button. The transaction is automatically charged to their monthly wireless provider bill. The process eliminates common steps like SMS verification and requires no typing, "Developers who already integrated Facebook Payments on the mobile web don't need to do anything to benefit from this new flow," writes Facebook software engineer Jessie Xu.

Facebook first vowed to simplify mobile Web billing practices at February's Mobile World Congress event. "The payments experience is broken for end users," Facebook CTO Bret Taylor said at that time. "We're unlocking the business potential of the mobile web."

Facebook is initially rolling out the new billing protocol to carrier partners in the U.S. and the U.K., including AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA. Conspicuous by its absence: Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), which Facebook named among the operators participating in the effort when it was first announced earlier this year. "We're still talking with [Facebook] about this," a Verizon Wireless spokesperson told FierceMobileContent.

Facebook boasts more than 901 million users worldwide, up 33 percent from 680 million a year ago, with 488 million users accessing the site via mobile device each month. Last month, Facebook raised $16 billion in the second largest stock market debut in U.S. history, valuing the social network at $104.2 billion. But growing investor concern over Facebook's ability to successfully monetize its mobile audience has since wiped $32 billion off its value.

For more:
- read this Facebook Developer Blog entry

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Facebook launches operator billing for mobile Web apps

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