Reliance customers can now enjoy a range of digital entertainment content through their mobile account based payments
India’s leading mobile operator Reliance Communications (RCOM) and the mobile payment platform provider Fortumo are today announcing the launch of direct carrier billing in India. With this development, all customers of RCOM will be able to make purchases for digital content and games by charging the payments to their mobile bill or mobile prepaid account.
Reliance customers can now enjoy a host of digital entertainment content on the move on their mobile devices, across movies, music, games and live TV, starting from just Rs. 10 for 1 day of access. RCOM customers can watch Sony TV Channels through the SonyLiv app, live Zee Channels through Ditto TV app, watch video-on-demand with Hollywood & Indian movies on BoxTV, listen to music online on Gaana, browse through Indian and International digital magazines at the world’s largest newsstand Magzter and play games of Rovio, Octro, Gamebasics and many more, all by paying through their mobile postpaid bill and mobile prepaid account.
“Leading app stores and digital content merchants are very keen to launch direct carrier billing in India due to the quickly growing smartphone ecosystem. Fortumo has emerged as one of the leaders in providing carrier billing in India. We are very excited to partner with Reliance to help launch app stores and merchants rapidly. Working with Fortumo reduces time to market and resources needed to launch carrier billing for both carriers and merchants,” said Sanjay Sinha, Country Manager of Fortumo India.
India is a market very well suited for direct carrier billing. While only 4% of people in the country have access to credit cards, Fortumo’s platform allows content partners to collect payments from any mobile phone owner. This can be done regardless of whether the consumer has a prepaid SIM card or a postpaid contract with their mobile operator.
The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing that it has launched direct carrier billing in 3 new African markets. More than 52 million people in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Senegal can now make seamless digital payments and get the purchases charged to their mobile phone bill. App stores, digital merchants and game developers using Fortumo can now significantly increase their online payments reach in some of the most underbanked countries of the world.
In Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Senegal the percentage of bank card owners is only 2%. At the same time, carrier billing is available to any prepaid or postpaid mobile account owner. This means merchants using carrier billing can reach a paying audience twenty times bigger than with traditional payment methods.
“Quick economic growth coupled with access to low-cost smartphones has positioned Africa as an exciting region for digital content merchants. At the same time, it has been difficult to accept payments from users as the continent is very diverse and fragmented. Carrier billing solves this challenge by allowing merchants to integrate one pervasive payment method which is accessible to any mobile phone owner regardless of their location,” said Gerri Kodres, Chief Business Officer at Fortumo.
The company is also keeping a keen eye out for opportunities in new business segments such as enabling carrier billing for financial service providers. “While traditional bank-based payments do not generally work in Africa, we are looking at collaborating with virtual credit card providers and digital wallet merchants to enable them expansion into African markets through topping up these accounts via carrier billing,” added Kodres.
Fortumo now covers 21 countries in the Middle East & North African region, with 7 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa). The company also plans to add additional markets in Africa later in 2016. In total, nearly 600 million mobile users have access to carrier billing through Fortumo in the Middle Eastern & African region. Additional data and insights into the region’s carrier billing ecosystem can be found from Fortumo’s market report.
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform allows merchants to quickly scale up their carrier billing offering by integrating payments once and launching them in all countries covered by Fortumo simultaneously. Beside the technical platform, Fortumo also helps merchants with business support services (such as end-user support) and negotiating new mobile operator partnerships for connectivity and promotions.
Globally, Fortumo has the largest carrier billing coverage in the industry with its payment products being available to more than 3 billion consumers in 96 countries. Merchants using the company’s direct carrier billing platform include app stores (Google Play, Windows Phone Store), digital streaming service providers (Sony, Hooq) and game developers (Electronic Arts, Gameloft).
The mobile operator Digi (part of Telenor Group) and the mobile payments company Fortumo are today launching direct carrier billing in Malaysia. Thanks to the partnership, 12 million subscribers of Digi will be able to make online payments by charging the purchases to their mobile phone bill.
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is used by leading app stores (Google Play & Windows Phone Store), digital content providers (Sony, HOOQ, Gaana, Magzter), game developers (EA Mobile and Gameloft), smartphone manufacturers (Huawei, Xiaomi) and thousands of other merchants.
“Digi is one the most innovative operators in South-East Asia and we are proud to launch direct billing with them first in Malaysia. Carrier billing has evolved a lot during the last years and has now become the preferred emerging markets’ choice for many digital merchant categories including music and video streaming, digital media, gaming and social. Fortumo is happy to bring its portfolio of top merchants to Digi and expand our partnership with Telenor Group,” said Gerri Kodres, Chief Business Officer at Fortumo.
Carrier billing fills a significant gap in the online payments ecosystem in Malaysia due to an inadequate banking and credit card infrastructure. While 34% of people in the country already have a smartphone, only 20% have access to a credit card. This means a large part of the population has online access but is unable to pay for premium content.
Carrier billing resolves this issue by enabling any phone owner to make online payments. According to Fortumo’s internal data, the average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) in Malaysia is $5.4 and roughly half of all online purchases are done on mobile devices.
Fortumo and Telenor Group have been working together since 2013 and in addition to Malaysia, are offering direct carrier billing to Telenor networks in Pakistan and Thailand. In total, Fortumo covers 16 countries in the Asia Pacific region, reaching 1.4 billion mobile subscribers. In recent news, the company announced the launch of Fortumo Insight, a payments intelligence platform for mobile operators.
The mobile payments company Fortumo is today publicly launching Fortumo Insight, a payments intelligence platform for mobile operators. Fortumo Insight helps mobile operators understand their carrier billing performance and make informed decisions to increase revenue from app stores, digital content and games. Previously available to selected mobile operator groups, all carriers can now start using Fortumo Insight.
Fortumo Insight enables different functions within mobile operator teams such as launch managers, fraud prevention specialists, business development managers and marketing specialists to access key metrics about their billing platform. Mobile operators can get access to the following KPIs on payments from app stores, digital content and games in a clear and compact manner:
- Payment volume information, such as gross transaction volumes, total number of payments made and user activations per merchant
- Spending behavior information, which allows to segment users, adjust spending limits for individual subscribers or segments and blacklist fraudulent activities
- Payment success rates and a breakdown of reasons for unsuccessful payments
- Overview of the top-performing merchants and items that generate the biggest revenue for merchants and app developers
- Information about refunds requested by users
Fortumo Insight aggregates information from Fortumo’s agnostic payments platform. The platform processes payments in 90+ countries for three main digital ecosystem categories: app stores, digital content (streaming music and video, social networks, productivity tools) and games. Fortumo’s internal data shows that in order to maximize the revenue, carriers should launch all three categories and process payments across the board.
For mobile operators to take full advantage of Fortumo Insight, the company has also kicked off a new initiative called Uplift for its partners. “Uplift aims to provide carriers with information and education on how to improve billing performance, optimize the revenue and increase subscriber satisfaction,” said Gerri Kodres, Chief Business Officer of Fortumo.
The initiative includes publishing educational materials and information such as its recently released free white paper on how to increase the revenues from app stores. Uplift also includes custom advice on fine-tuning app store performance, managing spending limits, reducing fraud together with sharing the best practices from other carriers.
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is used by leading app stores (Google Play, Windows Phone Store), digital media companies (Sony, Hooq, Ditto TV, Gaana) and game developers (EA Mobile, Gameloft, Rovio). In order to enable global carrier billing for these merchants, Fortumo has partnered with more than 350 mobile operators across the world, including the groups Telefónica, Telenor, Singtel, Turkcell and Kyivstar, as well as leading mobile operators in India.
Viettel, the largest mobile operator in Vietnam has partnered with Fortumo to Google Play carrier billing in Vietnam. Starting from this week, 55 million subscribers of Viettel can purchase apps, music and books from Google Play by charging the purchases to their phone bill. Viettel is the first mobile operator in Vietnam to launch mobile payments on Google Play.
“The key reason for Viettel selecting Fortumo was our industry-leading technical platform that is capable of simultaneously handling large app stores as well as leading OTTs. Additionally, Fortumo has been preferred choice for carriers in Asia because of our strong focus on the region and local presence. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in Asia and we are proud to be chosen by Viettel as partner to launch Google Play,” said Gerri Kodres, Chief Business Officer at Fortumo.
In addition to providing carrier billing for global merchants and app stores such as Google Play and Windows Phone Store, Fortumo’s advanced platform is also used by Asia’s leading music and video streaming providers and app developers such as Sony, HOOQ, UCWeb (Alibaba), Tencent and Huawei.
Smartphone penetration in Vietnam has reached 36.2% of mobile phone users. Meanwhile only 1.9% of the people have a credit card and 26.5% have a debit card, according to the World Bank. This creates a significant gap in users who are able to access online content in Vietnam and those who are able to pay for it using traditional payment methods. Carrier billing resolves this issue, enabling both post-paid and pre-paid customers to make payments using just their smartphone or even feature phone.
In Asia carrier billing has become one of the most popular methods of payment. In recent news from the region, Fortumo announced partnerships with the SingTel-backed video streaming service HOOQ and the world’s largest digital newsstand Magzter.
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform allows users to make payments over a data connection by confirming purchases with one click on their phone. Payments are processed without any additional information required from the mobile user which provides a significant conversion improvement compared to any other online payment method.
The world’s largest digital newsstand Magzter is today launching carrier billing as a new payment method for selling magazines on its platform in India. The carrier billing platform is provided to Magzter by the mobile payments company Fortumo. Thanks to the partnership, Magzter users can now purchase access to digital content by charging payments directly to their mobile phone bill.
“Magzter’s global reach requires us to offer the most convenient payment options to our international customers, and adding carrier billing could help users without credit cards to transact easily,” said John Paris, Vice President of Product for Magzter.
“One of the biggest challenges for digital content merchants in India is monetization. On one hand, smartphone ownership is growing very quickly. But at the same time, most new users do not have access to card-based payments to purchase online content. We are very happy to support Magzter by allowing any mobile phone owner to pay for content on their digital newsstand,” said Sanjay Sinha, head of Fortumo India.
According to data from the World Bank, only 4% of people in India have a credit card and 22% have a debit card. At the same time, more than 200 million people in the country already have a smartphone and the rate of smartphone adoption grew by 40% last year. This means a majority of the people going online cannot make purchases with traditional payment methods.
Fortumo’s carrier billing platform is available to 584 million subscribers of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Aircel in India. Carrier billing with Fortumo can be used by both prepaid and postpaid customers: the payment is either deducted from the account balance or charged to the customer’s monthly invoice. For digital content merchants such as Magzter, Fortumo has also developed a license management solution which can be used to give cross-platform access to digital content through a single payment.
Magzter Inc. is the world’s largest cross-platform digital magazine store and newsstand with over 27 million digital consumers and more than 7,000 magazines from over 3,000 publishers. Headquartered in New York, Magzter has team members in London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Chennai and Singapore and will soon be expanding to other countries.
Founded by global entrepreneurs Girish Ramdas and Vijay Radhakrishnan in June 2011, Magzter enables magazine publishers around the world to create and deliver digital editions of their titles to global consumers. Powered by its proprietary OREY Click Publishing® System that allows publishers to upload their magazines with a single touch, Magzter also enables them to publish interactive/audio-visual content in the magazine as it supports HTML5.
HOOQ, Asia’s largest premium video-on-demand service and the mobile payments platform provider Fortumo are today announcing a partnership for direct carrier billing in India. Thanks to the partnership, consumers can now subscribe to HOOQ by charging payments to their mobile phone bill.
Now, more customers can subscribe to HOOQ through carrier billing as this payment method is available to 584 million subscribers of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea in India on both prepaid and postpaid plans. The subscription charge is either deducted from the prepaid balance or added to the user’s monthly postpaid invoice. HOOQ’s monthly subscription gives users access to a wide range of video content from Hollywood blockbuster movies to popular local TV programs. Users can also try out the service for free during a 7-day trial period.
“It is important for all businesses serving emerging market customers to allow for accessibility to their product. HOOQ is an app built in Asia for Asia and we are aware that in order for more customers to be able to enjoy our product, we must first make it easy for them to purchase it. Partnering with Fortumo is a natural choice with their seamless integration and secured APIs with the carrier billing partners” said Ravi Vora, Chief Marketing Officer of HOOQ.
“India is an attractive market for digital merchants right now as smartphone ownership is growing rapidly. New users want access to premium online content and entertainment, but often do not have a way to pay for this content. We are excited to be working together with HOOQ, a leading player in Asia’s digital streaming industry, to provide users with the simplest and most convenient payment method” said Sanjay Sinha, head of Fortumo India.
India was one of the fastest growing countries by smartphone adoption in 2015, with a 40% growth compared to the previous year. Direct carrier billing is available to a significantly larger part of India’s population than bank-based payments. This is because less than 20% of people in India own a debit or credit card. Additional data on India’s mobile payments ecosystem can be found in Fortumo’s market report.
Fortumo has been active in India since 2013. In the Asia Pacific region, Fortumo has coverage in 16 countries, covering a total of 1.3 billion mobile users. Besides HOOQ, Fortumo provides direct carrier billing to a number of leading digital streaming merchants in the region, including SonyLIV, Box TV, Ditto TV, Ten Sports and Gaana. Fortumo also provides carrier billing to app stores such as Google Play and Windows Store as well as game developers like Octro, Electronic Arts and Gameloft.
HOOQ is Asia’s first premium video-on-demand service to launch across the region. HOOQ is a start-up joint venture established in January 2015 by Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. HOOQ delivers over 15,000 Hollywood blockbusters and popular local programs to customers anytime, anywhere by enabling them to stream and download their favorite shows on their device or platform of choice. HOOQ currently operates in the Philippines, Thailand and India. For more information, visit www.hooq.tv.
The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing that it signed up 20 new mobile operators and mobile operator groups to use its direct carrier billing platform in 2015. 12 of these partnerships are with carriers from Asia, a region where Fortumo has recently been heavily focusing on.
“2015 has been a great year for carrier billing. In addition to leading app stores and game developers, we have onboarded number of top merchants in new industries like streaming, financial services, productivity tools and messaging. Through this traction, we are helping mobile operators earn more revenue in a situation where their traditional growth areas have slowed down,” said Gerri Kodres, Chief Business Officer at Fortumo.
Part of its focus to emerging markets and Asia, Fortumo has announced partnerships with leading Asian carriers such as Viettel in Vietnam, Dtac in Thailand and Telenor Pakistan. The company has also expanded its footprint in the app store ecosystem, launching carriers like DNA for Google Play and Smart for Windows Phone Store. Beside app stores, Fortumo has brought to carriers streaming content providers (such as Sony and Gaana), top game developers (such as EA Mobile and Gameloft), smartphone manufacturers (Huawei, Xiaomi) and many others.
Fortumo suggests mobile operators also look beyond app stores for growing their carrier billing revenue. “There is potential to double or triple carrier billing revenue in the digital content space beside app stores. This is especially relevant now when carrier billing is opening up to new segments such as music and video, wallets or virtual credit card top-ups, gift cards and mobile commerce,” explained Gerri Kodres. In 2014, the global digital market* was estimated to stand at $43.85 billion out of which app stores generated $24 billion.
Fortumo has recently been focusing on partnerships with mobile operators in the Asia Pacific region. This has been driven by demand from merchants seeking to sustain growth as Western digital markets are slowing down. For example, while smartphone ownership increased only by 11% in the US in 2015, it jumped to 33% in India. Digital content spend is also rising at a faster pace in emerging markets. In the US, digital gaming revenue increased by 13.5% while in India it grew by 99.5%. This makes emerging markets an important focus for merchants and provides mobile operators in these regions the opportunity to generate more revenue from carrier billing.
* – Digital content market size:
Sony LIV, Multi Screen Media’s (MSM) premium digital video entertainment service has associated with the mobile payments company, Fortumo. Fortumo will now power payments for Sony LIV users. On account of this association, more than 580 million subscribers of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Aircel can access videos and movies on Sony LIV by charging payments to their mobile operator’s bill.
Fortumo’s carrier billing solution will enable users to choose specific premium videos or movies that they wish to watch and pay for content using their phone – the payment is either deducted from their prepaid SIM card or charged to the phone bill in case of a postpaid contract. With carrier billing, the users do not need to set up any additional accounts or enter private information to make payments.
Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head -Digital Business, MSM: “Direct Carrier billing helps viewers of Sony LIV to pay easily for their content consumption without a debit or a credit card. Fortumo was identified as the perfect synergistic match for Sony LIV due to its impressive background of powering payments for some of Asia Pacific’s leading digital content players. The tie-up with Fortumo will enable us to take our Video-On-Demand (VoD) service to an even larger audience.”
Sanjay Sinha, Head of Fortumo India said, “India has one of the lowest credit card penetration rates globally while smartphone ownership is growing rapidly. This creates a situation where users can access content online but are not able to pay for it. Fortumo solves the challenge by enabling payments for any phone owner. We are excited to partner with MSM.”
According to a forecast by Gfk, India is ranked as the biggest smartphone growth market by value in 2015. Meanwhile, credit cards are available to only 4% and debit cards to 22% of the country’s population. This creates a difficult challenge for online and mobile merchants trying to generate revenue through traditional payment methods in the country. With Fortumo, Sony LIV will simplify the payment process for its large and dedicated user base in the country.
Fortumo powers payments for a number of leading digital content providers in the Asia Pacific region, including Box TV, Ditto TV, Tensports and Gaana. Recently, Fortumo’s platform was implemented by the game developer Rovio and mobile operator Idea to collect payments for Rovio’s games in India.
About Sony LIV:
Sony LIV is the first premium Video on demand (VOD) service by Multi Screen Media (MSM), providing multi-screen engagement to users on all devices. Launched in January 2013, it enables users to discover 20 years of rich content from the network channels of Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd. It also provides a rich array of movies, strong line-up of events across all sports, shows, music, product reviews. With 20 million app downloads so far, LIV is the first amongst its competition to provide original exclusive premium content. As a true pioneer in its space, Sony LIV launched India’s first-ever original show exclusively for the online platform earlier this year. With #LoveBytes, it became the country’s first digital video-on-demand (VOD) platform to introduce an innovation of this nature.
The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing the launch of a voucher management platform for the sale of digital goods. The platform also supports running marketing campaigns, enabling the vouchers to be used for cross-platform license management for other accounts and user acquisition.
Fortumo’s voucher platform has built-in support for giving users access to content for multiple accounts on several platforms through a single voucher. This provides a seamless purchase experience for users who consume digital magazines, music and video streaming services, anti-virus solutions and social network services across desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
In addition, digital and virtual content providers using the platform do not need to build a separate infrastructure to handle carrier billing relationships with the users. This allows merchants who have previously only been using credit card payments for their paid content to immediately launch carrier billing without the need for additional third party integrations, CMS tools or payment platforms.
“Carrier billing has significantly bigger user reach and better conversion compared to credit cards, especially as smartphone growth is increasing rapidly in emerging markets. The launch of Fortumo’s voucher platform means merchants are able to take advantage of the benefits of carrier billing in a quick and scalable way across all platforms,” said Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo.
The same platform can be used by merchants for marketing purposes. For example, merchants can issue free vouchers to new users acquired through an advertising campaign or deliver free voucher codes through a text message to users who have stopped using their service.
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is used by leading app stores (Google Play, Windows Phone Store), game developers (EA Mobile, Gameloft, Rovio) and digital media companies (Times Internet, Ditto TV, Box TV, Gaana). In order to enable global carrier billing for these merchants, Fortumo has partnered with more than 350 mobile operators across the world, including mobile operator groups Telefónica, Telenor, Singtel, Turkcell and Kyivstar, as well as leading mobile operators in India and China.