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Boku lets Globe Telecom subscribers buy virtual goods via mobile

February 17, 2010

bokuPhilippine wireless carrier Globe Telecom is partnering with mobile payments specialist Boku to expand acceptance of the Globe GCash service internationally.

The deal opens the Boku mobile payment platform and growing international merchant community to Globe’s GCash subscribers. By partnering with Boku, Globe extends the reach of GCash outside the Philippines to a global community of more than 1,000 merchant partners and a mobile payments community that covers more than 190 carriers worldwide.

“The strategy behind this partnership is to provide Globe’s GCash customers access to the many merchants that Boku has enabled, so that these customers can purchase the services online, when historically they couldn’t without a credit card or bank account,” said Ron Hirson, senior vice president of product and marketing at Boku, San Francisco.

“This helps Boku with getting close to credit-card rates for these customers, enabling merchants to see more revenue,” he said.

The partnership lets Globe Telecom subscribers to purchase virtual goods from any merchant in the Boku global merchant network.

The Philippines is one of the richest markets in the world for mobile payments, per Globe Telecom.

Since its inception in 2004, GCash has been the most widely used mobile payment method for online purchases in the Philippines.

Boku’s focus on mobile payments, as well as its specialized team, large merchant base and tier-one investors, makes it a good match for providing GCash subscribers with a rich new experience in mobile commerce that opens up the opportunity to explore and buy virtual goods from the vast international market.

Boku launched in June 2009 and has seen tremendous growth in the last year.

Over this brief period, the company has developed direct mobile payments service relationships with more than 1,000 game and application developers, including almost all of the top applications for virtual goods and currencies purchased on Facebook.

The company’s mobile payment service, Paymo, is enabled across 190 carriers worldwide in 60-plus countries, and can reach a potential 1.8 billion customers.

In January, Boku raised $25 million in series C capital led by DAG Ventures Inc. with continued participation from Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

With this round of capital, Boku is hoping to build on the momentum it has experienced in the last year. It also stands as a strong vote of confidence for the prospects for the mobile payments space, which is expected to continue its strong growth throughout 2010 and beyond (see story).

Additionally, last September, mobile social network MocoSpace selected Boku’s mobile payments platform to let consumers pay for virtual goods and premium services via their handsets (see story).

“With this partnership, Boku serves as an acquirer of global merchants that reach customers in the Philippines,” Mr. Speiser said. “This partnership will enable the purchase of virtual goods for Globe’s customers on Boku’s merchant partners.”

Dan Butcher contributed reporting to this story.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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