Readwhere expands its digital newsstand beyond India with Fortumo

The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing that it will start providing carrier billing to India’s largest digital newsstand Readwhere. The partnership will allow Readwhere users across the world to access paid content (e-papers, magazines, books and comics) by charging purchases to their mobile phone bill. Fortumo currently covers 88 countries and more than 350 mobile operators with its carrier billing solution.

“Low ownership of credit cards in emerging markets means digital content merchants face difficulties in converting their audience into paying customers. Carrier billing helps merchants tackle this issue as payments become available to any phone owner. We are excited to be working with Readwhere to help them expand their business beyond India through the use of carrier billing,” said Sanjay Sinha, Head of Fortumo India.

“For Readwhere, which is essentially a platform enabling micro-transactions on digital reading content, carrier billing presents a seamless and fast experience to making payments for digital purchases. Post the Fortumo integration, we will be able to offer this seamless payment experience via mobile for many other countries besides India,” said Manish Dhingra, CEO of Readwhere.

Carrier billing has a significantly bigger payment reach than card-based payments in emerging markets: India and Vietnam for example have a credit card penetration below 2% and in Nigeria 99.3% of all card transactions are conducted on ATMs.

Fortumo’s direct carrier billing technology provides the best checkout experience to end-users based on the platform used (desktop, mobile web, feature phone or smart TV). This means merchants need to only integrate carrier billing once in order to start accepting payments on any platform. Fortumo’s statistics from April 2015 indicate that approximately 80% of paying users in India paid for content on mobile devices.

Fortumo is the only carrier billing provider with a self-service setup and no monthly fees or minimum volume commitments, allowing any developer regardless of size and location to sign up for an account and get started with mobile payments at https://fortumo.com.

About Readwhere

Readwhere is an online reading & publishing hub. Read e-paper, magazines, books, comics etc. online & offline. It provides the best content for reading on Web, Mobile and Tablet Devices. It includes popular News Papers, Magazines, Comics, Books & Journals, all within the same application. Read content from some of the premier newspapers of India, most read magazines and popular comics. Newspapers are free to read. The languages covered include English, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Kannada. Magazines include some of India’s best known Magazine brands, publishing on categories ranging from News, Bollywood, Entertainment, Health, Art and Architecture, Automotive and many more. Our comic book collection will bring back your childhood. Over 700+ titles from famous comic book publishers of India. Several of these comics are out of print and hence can be read only via Readwhere. Our eBook collection covers many interesting Books, which are from well-known publishers and are best-sellers in their own right. This include books on various subjects taught in School, Kids Books, Books on Health and Wellness, Astrology, Novels, Personal and Professional Growth, Management to name a few.

Fortumo hires Google veteran Tim Carter as CRO

The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing the appointment of Tim Carter as its Chief Revenue Officer, based in the company’s London office. Tim previously established Google’s Android business development team in Europe, Middle-East and Africa starting from 2009, launched payments for Google Play and managed mobile operator and device partnerships in the region. His responsibility at Fortumo will be heading the company’s global business development and its strategic business lines.

“Fortumo already provides carrier billing to the largest number of companies globally and Tim’s experience from building up Android and Google Play’s billing solutions gives us added trust and leadership to scale up new areas of our business. Carrier billing has the potential to replace credit cards in certain segments and regions where it outperforms bank-based payments in terms of user-friendliness and coverage,” said Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo.

“Mobile payments are the safe alternative to cash for the vast majority of people on the planet and are also driving innovations in consumer experience in Western markets. Fortumo’s team has created the go-to operation worldwide for merchants and mobile operators to monetise digital content in emerging markets in a secure and scalable way. The company’s continued investments in engineering, operations and partnerships are setting it up for further capitalisation of global smartphone populations, at a time when the mobile payments industry is about to revolutionise how the world buys goods and services,” added Tim Carter.

Tim Carter worked in Google’s Android team since its first device launched in 2008, helping to grow the Android ecosystem from zero users to 1.5Bn+ worldwide today. During that time he established mobile payments connections for Google Play in over 20 countries and catalysed Android’s adoption through key device partnerships, like the Verizon Droid and the Nexus programme. Immediately prior to joining Fortumo, Tim had established and led Google’s specialist Android business development team in Africa to grow Android adoption throughout next wave markets.

In addition to world’s top digital merchants, Fortumo has recently connected leading global app stores to its platform. Fortumo is also the first carrier billing company to pilot carrier billing for the sale of physical goods together with Rovio & Singtel in Singapore. The company forecasts the carrier billing volume for new business segments to stand at $1 trillion.

In addition to recruiting its first CRO, Fortumo has also significantly expanded its business development team in Asia (having opened offices in Delhi and Singapore in 2014) as well as its technical team in Estonia to bring the company’s technical platform to the level needed to process payments for the strategic business lines.

During 2014 Fortumo signed partnerships with more than 20 leading carrier groups and carriers in South-East Asia, Europe and Latin America. Fortumo additionally expanded its payment coverage to 10 new countries (Singapore, Philippines, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Pakistan, Georgia, Kenya and Moldova).

Mitashi partners with Fortumo for carrier billing on smartphones

The mobile payments company Fortumo today announced a partnership with the mobile device manufacturer (OEM) Mitashi. Thanks to the partnership Mitashi can start collecting payments made by users of its smartphones in 88 countries through carrier billing. Mitashi will also get access to the portfolio of top games and apps of developers who are already using Fortumo’s payment solutions.

Commenting on the association, Mr. Adnan Chara, Vice President – Gaming, Toys & Telecom – Mitashi Edutainment Pvt. Ltd. said, “Mitashi ThunderBolt has by far been one of the best selling consoles series in India. At Mitashi, we believe in partnering with the best to offer products that provide unmatched value to our end consumers. Towards this endeavor of providing more quality content so that through our devices consumer can start enjoying an unparalleled gaming experience right from the word go, in the past we have associated with Disney & Electronic Arts. We have now chosen Fortumo as a content providing partner and look forward to leveraging their coverage in the app and game development industry.”

“In emerging markets like India, credit card ownership is almost non-existent – this means most users with online access are not actually able to make payments on their phone. We’re excited to partner with Mitashi and enable their end-users to take advantage of carrier billing, the most widely available payment method today,” added Mr. Sanjay Sinha, Head of Fortumo India.

Fortumo provides device manufacturers using carrier billing with developer onboarding and support, creating & maintaining payments APIs and SDKs as well as handling compliance, taxation and payouts to developers.

Direct carrier billing with Fortumo enables users make payments over a data connection by confirming payments with one click on their phone. Since the mobile operator has all the information necessary to process the payment, this removes the need to send any text messages during the payment process. In markets where Fortumo provides direct carrier billing, payment conversion for first-time payments is close to 40% and higher for repeat purchases.

As part of the co-operation, Mitashi will get access to games and apps from top developers to use on their smartphones, including studios like Glu Mobile, Second Gear Games, 7k7k Games and Zeptolab. With Fortumo, developers need to do just one payment integration to enable carrier billing for end-users in 88 markets.

In addition to Mitashi, Fortumo provides carrier billing to a number of other leading Asian platform owners, including device manufacturers like ZTEAlcatel OnetouchOppoGionee and leading third-party Android app stores such as Turkcell AppMarketTelenor Apps & Changyou’s Mobogenie.

About Mitashi

Mitashi is one of the premium homegrown value brands in the Country. The Company is a dominant player in the Toys industry, an undisputed leader in the Gaming industry and one of the fastest growing brands in Consumer Electronics segment. Mitashi has infact been a pioneer of the Indian Gaming Industry. With relentless commitment to quality, consistent dedication to customer satisfaction and unparalleled standards of service, Mitashi is recognized for premium quality & great value for money. Mitashi aims to be India’s Most Trusted Brand and believes in providing the consumers a high quality entertainment product at an affordable price. For more information, please visit http://mitashi.com/.

Fortumo launches hybrid subscriptions for emerging markets

Fortumo launches hybrid subscriptions for emerging marketsThe mobile payments company Fortumo is today launching hybrid subscriptions using carrier billing. Hybrid subscriptions enable merchants to provide access to content on a limited time basis in low-income markets. Fortumo’s new product is intended to complement its subscription payments solution (available in more than 20 countries globally) in regions where recurring billing has proven to be ineffective and where carriers have not enabled it.

“People living in countries like India, Thailand and Nigeria can access online content but cannot pay for it due to the lack of credit cards. The pricing of this content is often mismatched with local income since most users cannot afford a $9.99 subscription for 30 days. Merchants we work with have found success by going local, for example by charging $0.49 for daily or $2.49 for weekly access. This means hybrid subscriptions with carrier billing give merchants a single technical platform to adapt their business for local market conditions and consequently grow their revenue,” said Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo.

With hybrid subscriptions users select a time duration for content access and then pay for it on their phone bill. This means streaming merchants like Spotify or Netflix can enable daily or weekly access to entertainment with scaled pricing, significantly increasing the amount of users who can afford to make payments. Fortumo’s recently published Emerging Markets Payment Index indicates that in the fastest growing emerging markets the average payment size for digital content is well below $1; this makes the existing pricing logic of most digital merchants unsuitable for many markets.

Hybrid subscriptions feature an automatic purchasing power parity engine which assesses spending patterns across 350 mobile operators connected to Fortumo. While the merchant is setting up their payment service, the engine gives recommendations for hybrid subscription pricing and duration which has proven to be effective for each carrier. Pilot merchants using hybrid subscriptions are seeing approximately 1.6x higher payment conversion from hybrid subscriptions compared to regular one-off payments.

Fortumo’s hybrid subscriptions product is intended for music and video streaming companies, digital newsstands, web and server hosting providers, social networks, dating sites and other merchants whose existing business model is based on recurring payments. Hybrid subscriptions are available to merchants across all 88 markets that Fortumo covers through one payment integration. Fortumo also provides recurring billing using mobile payments in more than 20 countries, among them Brazil, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Romania and India.

Fortumo’s direct carrier billing technology provides the best checkout experience to end-users depending on the platform used (desktop, mobile web, feature phone or smart TV). This means merchants need to only integrate carrier billing once in order to start accepting payments on any platform.

Fortumo launches the Emerging Markets Payments Index

The mobile payments company Fortumo is today revealing its Emerging Markets Payment Index. Fortumo’s Index is intended to be used by web, game and app developers for benchmarking their revenue in markets with high smartphone growth and low credit card penetration.

The Emerging Markets Payment Index focuses on markets highlighted by GfK in its global forecast of top smartphone markets for growth by value in 2015: India, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt and Vietnam*. These markets have a significantly lower level of access to traditional online payments than mature economies. India and Vietnam for example have a credit card penetration below 2% and in Nigeria 99.3% of all card transactions are conducted on ATMs.

“For most developers, emerging markets are considered to have low revenue potential. This is the result of trying to apply the Western revenue model of card-based payments and large transaction sizes to low-income underbanked markets. Our goal with the index is to show developers that emerging markets can provide significant income when the business and pricing strategy is localized,” said Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo.

Fortumo’s analysis indicates that the biggest growth in transaction volume from carrier billing in emerging markets is coming from India, Nigeria and Vietnam. Meanwhile, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia have the highest spending on digital content per user. It’s also interesting to note that the average transaction size is below $1 in most markets which makes credit card based billing unfeasible for virtual & digital goods as fixed transaction fees eat up a majority of the revenue. Most of the markets analyzed have a double-digit quarterly growth rate in transaction volumes which shows the rapid growth of alternative payment methods among unbanked users.

The payment index aggregates data from various platforms (web, mobile web, feature phones, smartphones) and app stores. Going forward, Fortumo will start providing quarterly updates to its payment index. For 2014, the index contains data on more than 300 million transactions processed by 122,000 developers using Fortumo to collect payments in 88 countries.

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ALCATEL ONETOUCH Partners with Fortumo to Extend One-click Payment Solution to Users in Emerging Markets

Starting from today the mobile payments company Fortumo will implement its carrier billing platform for payments in the App Center app store on ALCATEL ONETOUCH mobile handsets.

The partnership agreement means that ALCATEL ONETOUCH users in 88 countries can make one-click payments in the App Center app store, charged to their mobile operator bill without the need for a credit card.

Michael Li, GM of Mobile Internet Emerging Business Center noted, “Thanks to the global reach of Fortumo’s billing platform, we are able to generate more revenue for developers whose apps are available on ALCATEL ONETOUCH devices as preloads or through the App Center app store. Fortumo is committed to emerging markets, where the biggest smartphone growth is coming from, which makes it the major payment solution for ALCATEL ONETOUCH.”

Fortumo’s direct carrier billing connections ensure payment coverage in almost all emerging markets. The main target markets of ALCATEL ONETOUCH handsets is Europe and Latin America, which account for an increasing portion of apps downloaded from the App Center app store each month.

Gewben Wu, Head of Fortumo China, comments: “Carrier billing enables all parties in the app ecosystem – developers, device manufacturers, and mobile operators – to generate additional revenue from their content. With additional coverage over other payment methods, especially in emerging markets, mobile payments are the best monetization solution for any type of digital content.”

Fortumo is the only mobile payment provider with a self-service setup and scalable on-boarding of app and game developers.

Fortumo has previously announced a partnership with the leading Chinese smartphone manufacturers ZTE, Oppo and Gionee, as well as all three Chinese mobile operators (China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom). Meanwhile, the company is investing in the Asian region and has recently opened new offices in India (Mumbai), and Singapore.

Fortumo launches carrier billing SDK for offline payments in app stores

The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing that it has launched a new version of its Android in-app purchasing SDK for app stores. The new SDK can process payments even when users are not connected to the internet.

Fortumo’s patented in-app purchasing SDK is the leading payment solution for alternative Android app stores. Fortumo has established partnerships with dozens of alternative Android app stores, including device manufacturers (NOOK, ZTE, Oppo, Gionee), mobile operators (Telenor, Turkcell, Kyivstar) and 3rd party app store operators (Mobogenie, UCWeb, SlideME etc.). For developers using Unity, Corona, Marmalade and OpenIAB, Fortumo has created custom versions of the SDK to make integration effortless.

“Carrier billing works best in emerging markets where a large number of users do not own a credit card to make payments online. But even when carrier billing is available, users who are not connected to the internet have so far been unable to make payments. Fortumo’s Android SDK changes this by enabling transactions for offline users as well. This increases revenue for app stores and developers publishing in these stores even further when compared to traditional credit card based billing solutions,” said Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo.

Emerging markets are forecast to drive smartphone ownership growth during 2015. However, most developers are having problems collecting payments for their content as a majority of people do not have access to traditional online payment methods. India (forecast to be the biggest country for smartphone growth during 2015) has 45x less credit cards than mobile phones and data connections in the country are focused around urban areas while more than 80% of people live in rural areas.

Android app stores can use Fortumo to quickly onboard entertainment and gaming content for its subscribers, as has for example been done by Turkcell in Turkey and Telenor in Pakistan. Hundreds of top developers – including Gameloft, GLU Mobile, EA Mobile, Rovio and Creative Mobile – are already using Fortumo in-app purchasing in their mobile apps on alternative Android app stores as well as Windows Phone Store and Windows 8 Store.

In addition to app stores Fortumo works with social networks, PC and web game developers as well as streaming content platforms to enable them access to users without credit cards in emerging markets. Fortumo does not charge any monthly fees or minimum volume commitments from developers using its carrier billing solution. Fortumo’s solution works across a wide variety of platforms – web, mobile web, feature phones and smart TVs. Any developer regardless of size and location can sign up for an account and get started with mobile payments at https://fortumo.com.

Fortumo Partners with UCWeb on Mobile Payments

Fortumo carrier billing becomes available to 9Game users around the world

The mobile payment company Fortumo today announced that it has partnered with 9Game, the gaming operation of leading mobile Internet and services provider UCWeb, on mobile payment solutions. The partnership will enable access to a wider range of audience for 9Game. On the other hand, developers publishing games on 9Game can now collect additional revenue from up to 83 countries.

“We are excited to partner with UCWeb which is among the most successful internet companies to move out of China and go global. The co-operation will enable them to take full advantage of Fortumo’s global carrier connectivity and billing expertise,” said Gewben Wu, General Manager of Fortumo China. “Our carrier billing service lets users without credit cards – a majority of the population in emerging markets- pay from their mobile account balance.”

Not every smartphone user in emerging economies, such as India, Brazil and Russia, could also get their hands on a credit card which is crucial to mobile payments. For instance, in India, one of the largest markets for 9Game, there are about 160 million smartphones versus just 19 million credit cards*. This means carrier billing is able to help game platform and developers to increase their paying user base significantly as any phone owner gets access to payments thanks to Fortumo.

9Game has published over 80,000 apps and is currently serving 200 million downloads per month.

Thanks to the partnership, Fortumo further solidifies its status as the leading provider of carrier billing for emerging markets with a special focus on fast-growth markets in Asia. In the region, Fortumo enjoys very good reputation among merchants and has strong local presence through its offices in China (Beijing, Shanghai), India (Delhi, Mumbai) and Singapore.

Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is currently available to 2.1 billion users of 46 different mobile operators in 13 countries in Asia (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam). Globally, Fortumo covers more than 300 mobile operators in 83 countries, connecting 4.6 billion end-users to its carrier billing solution.

Changyou selects Fortumo for billing in Mobogenie App Store

The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing that it has been chosen by China’s leading digital entertainment company Changyou as a billing partner for its Mobogenie app store. Thanks to the partnership, developers publishing apps on Mobogenie can now use Fortumo’s Android 1-click payment SDK to generate revenue from users in 83 countries across the world.

“Bad access to traditional billing solutions like credit cards in emerging markets are not getting solved any time soon which means many developers are struggling to monetize their apps. Carrier billing on the other hand provides access to online payments for any phone owner, making it one of the most popular billing methods in Asia. We are excited to be working with Mobogenie to help them expand to overseas markets while enabling developers to make a profit from this expansion,” said Gewben Wu, Head of Fortumo China.

Changyou’s Mobogenie app store has over 400 million users outside of China with 80 million active daily users. More than 1.8 billion apps are downloaded from the store each month. In addition to the Android app store, Mobogenie also develops a PC version of its app store which allows users to transfer files, backup data, communicate via SMS and manage apps on the user’s phone.

Fortumo has recently announced several other key partnerships in Asia, including establishing co-operation with Telenor Pakistan & Turkcell for direct carrier billing, launching a physical goods store using carrier billing in Singapore with Rovio & SingTel, providing billing to Oppo and Gionee and opening up three new offices in China (Shanghai), India (Mumbai) and Singapore.

Fortumo’s in-app purchasing SDK for Android can be used by developers for billing on Mobogenie as well as dozens of other Android app stores: including device manufacturer (NOOK, ZTE, Oppo, Gionee), mobile operator (Telenor, Turkcell, Kyivstar) and 3rd party app stores (Samsung Apps, Amazon, SlideME etc). For developers using Unity 3D, Corona, Marmalade and OpenIAB, Fortumo has created custom versions of the SDK to make integration effortless.

Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is currently available to 2.2 billion users of 48 different mobile operators in 13 countries in Asia (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam). Globally, Fortumo covers more than 300 mobile operators in 83 countries, connecting 4.6 billion end-users to its carrier billing solution.

Fortumo launches subscription billing for Windows Phone & Windows 8

Digital content merchants can now increase their revenue from emerging markets

The mobile payments company Fortumo is today announcing that it has launched subscription payments using carrier billing for Windows Phone and Windows 8. Developers building apps for Microsoft platforms can now increase their subscription payment coverage by enabling carrier billing for users without credit cards in 83 markets.

“Digital content merchants like Spotify and Hulu are struggling to enter emerging markets as the lack of credit cards in these regions results in only a fraction of people becoming paying users. While Fortumo already helps app and game developers grow their revenue through in-app purchasing, subscription billing enables a wider range of developers to increase their payment coverage on Windows Phone & Windows 8,” said Martin Koppel, COO of Fortumo.

Fortumo is currently in the process of rolling out subscriptions country-by-country. Initially, developers can start using recurring billing through mobile payments in 20 countries, among them Brazil, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Romania, India and others. This means developers can immediately extend their payment coverage to more than 1 billion end-users without credit cards.

A recent infographic from Fortumo reveals that the biggest countries for carrier billing spending on Windows Phone are Brazil, France, Argentina, Italy and Vietnam. Internal data from Fortumo also shows that Windows Phone users tend to spend more on apps than Android users: the average transaction size on Windows Phone is $2.05, compared to $1.44 for Android apps.

Fortumo’s carrier billing solution is used by more than 300 developers on Microsoft platforms, including leading game studios like Game Insight, Joybits, Creative Mobile, Games2win, Octro, Happy Elements and Boyaa.

Fortumo offers a native-looking in-app purchasing SDK for Windows and Windows Phone apps that only requires the user to have a mobile phone to complete payments: no additional registration or credit card is required.

Fortumo’s in-app purchasing SDK supports the sale of single items, virtual credits and subscriptions. The Windows Phone 8.0 and Windows Phone 8.1 versions of the SDK can be used in C# projects, Windows Phone 8.1 version can also be consumed from C++ projects. Fortumo also provides carrier billing for developers using Unity 3D or Cocos2d-x. The SDK supports over 40 currencies and is localized into 32 languages.

Mobile operator billing with Fortumo is designed to complement Microsoft Corp.’s own payment solution. For Windows Store, Fortumo provides mobile payments in 83 countries and over 300 mobile networks. For Windows Phone Store, Fortumo extends Microsoft’s existing mobile operator billing reach by adding a number of emerging markets in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle-East and Africa with low credit card penetration.

Fortumo offers self-service setup with no monthly fees or minimum volume commitments, allowing any developer regardless of size and location to sign up for an account and get started with mobile payments at http://fortumo.com.