Boku teams with DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank for Spotify carrier billing

Direct carrier billing firm Boku says that carrier-billed subscriptions for music streaming service Spotify are now available across Japan’s three main carriers: NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank.

That means that between all three operators, more than 158 million mobile subscribers can now use their mobile phone as a payment option for their Spotify Premium subscriptions.

The deal also marks the Japanese launch of Boku’s Phone-on-File technology, which allows merchants to manage renewal charges on a user’s mobile account in the same way as they do with cards.

Spotify – which launched in Japan in September – gains the ability to utilize carrier billing as a powerful way to acquire new Japanese customers who find using their mobile phone number for purchases to be the easiest and most secure way to pay on any device, including PC and mobile web-based purchases. Once a free Spotify Premium trial has expired, the subscription fee will automatically appear on the user’s mobile phone bill.

Boku has similar deals with Spotify in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, the UK, Germany, and Italy.

Boku CEO Jon Prideaux said that Japan is a strong market for carrier billing, since 77% of internet usage is via mobile.

“Japan is the world’s second largest music market and no alternative payment method has proved more effective at monetizing Japanese consumers online than carrier billing,” he said. “Our partnership with Spotify and the three largest carriers in Japan is a massive win for all parties in terms of revenue growth, new subscriber acquisition, and consumer satisfaction. These new carrier agreements not only speak to the global appeal of Spotify’s streaming music service, but also to the continued growth of carrier billing’s popularity in all parts of the world as a preferred form of payment.”

Spotify is the first music service in Japan to offer both a free ad-supported service and an ad-free subscription service, which enables users to listen to music wherever and whenever they are – even while offline. To pay for Spotify via carrier billing, users can simply enter their mobile phone number to start a free 30-day trial of Spotify Premium and when the free trial expires the user is charged via their phone bill. Spotify begins charging users for Premium on the first day following the end of the trial, on a recurring monthly basis.

Spotify currently claims more than 100 million active users, and 40 million paid subscribers across more than 50 countries worldwide.

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