One company that has been busy in the payments industry over the past year or so is Fortumo. And there is a good reason: It has the financial muscle of VC money behind it.
Why are investors interested in Fortumo’s story?Because carrier billing is emerging as an excellent proposition, and Fortumo does well in that segment. In the next three years, global revenue from mobile content purchased via carrier billing will increase threefold, to more than $13 billion in 2017, according to Juniper Research. On 1st July 2014, Fortumo announced the launch of direct carrier billing in Pakistan, in partnership with mobile operator Telenor.
“Right now merchants are missing out on a great deal of revenue from emerging markets because very few users have credit cards, which are needed to make payments in Google Play. Meanwhile, carrier billing can be used by anyone with a mobile phone,” said Gerri Kodres, Fortumo’s senior vice president of business development and carrier relations, , in a press release. “Together with Telenor, which is one of the most innovative mobile operators in the region, we are providing end-users with a means to pay for high-quality content while adding previously unavailable revenue to developers.”
- With this partnership, Telenor Pakistan’s over 35 Mn subscribers can make online payments by simply charging purchases to their phone bill.
- Fortumo will also start powering in-app purchasing for the Telenor App Store.
- Fewer than 1.5 Mn people in Pakistan own credit cards, whereas there more than 130 Mn mobile phone users in the country, according to the release.
- Mobile operator billing thus increases merchants’ payment coverage in the country nearly ninetyfold.
- Smartphone ownership in Pakistan is estimated to grow 50% this year and is currently around 15%, the press release states.
- Telenor has also implemented Fortumo in-app purchasing in its Telenor App Store,which features games from top developers, such as GLU Mobile, Creative Mobile and Gameloft.
- Developers interested in earning additional revenue via the Telenor App Store can sign up on Telenor’s website
- Fortumo’s Android SDK can also be used at several other Android marketplaces with just a single integration.
- Fortumo has signed a global framework agreement with the Telenor Group, covering 12 countries in Europe and Asia. The deal was announced a couple of months ago.
- Direct carrier billing enables users to make payments over a data connection by confirming payments with a single click on their phone.
- Since the mobile operator has all the information necessary to process the payment, there is no need for text messages to be sent during the payment process.
- According to Fortumo, its payments data shows that direct carrier billing enables HTML5 developers to reach payment conversion of 40% and higher for repeat purchases.
“An enormous part of Telenor Pakistan’s subscriber base comprises of young population, which represents a strong potential to reach apps, games and web services developers’ user base. Through the partnership with Fortumo, developers can start accepting purchases from these users through direct carrier billing – the most widely available payment method in emerging markets,” said Muhammd Farooq Shaikh, director of digital services at Telenor Pakistan, , in the press release. “The facility will play a big role in promoting online commerce through convenience and accessibility.”
Fortumo has been busy this year:
On 8th January 2014, Fortumo announced a partnership with Payelp Global, a worldwide provider of payment services to businesses and online retailers that processes more than 500,000 transactions a minute, offering payment and business-development services to merchants in over 74 countries.
On 18th February 2014, Fortumo announced a direct-carrier-billing partnership with Smart Communications Inc., the Philippines’ largest mobile operator. The partnership enables subscribers to pay for games conveniently and seamlessly via smartphone.
On 25th February 2014, Zee New Media’s Ditto TV, India’s first OTT (over the top) TV-distribution platform, announced its partnership with Fortumo to introduce a new mobile payment option for its users. The partnership enables Ditto TV users to subscribe to their favorite content on Ditto TV and make payments directly via their mobile operator. All this is done without the need of a credit card, cash on delivery (COD), or Internet-banking options.
In February, the One Platform Foundation announced that Fortumo had joined its Open In-App Billing (OpenIAB) initiative. On 7th April, 2014, the foundation followed through with the launch of a new version of the Open IAB that enables developers to use mobile operator billing in 80 countries for in-app purchasing via any Android device. By using the OpenIAB platform, developers can work with a unified API that handles billing logic corresponding to each store’s payment solution.
On 29th May 2014, game-development and -distribution platform TreSensa announced that it had entered into a partnership with Fortumo to bring in-app purchasing using carrier billing to TreSensa’s gaming network.With this collaboration, HTML5 developers publishing apps via TreSensa can earn additional revenue with mobile payments.
Some of the other players operating in this field include Boku, Zong, Text2pay, TxtNation, PaymentPin.com and Allopass. Fortumo was launched in 2007, aiming to be the most developer-friendly mobile payments provider.
In February 2013 Fortumo raised $10 Mn from Intel Capital and Greycroft Partners to make a foray into emerging markets. Globally, Fortumo has a presence in over 180 countries and has alliances with over 300 carriers and 92,000 developers. Some of the popular app and game developers that use Fortumo’s direct-carrier-billing service include Pop Cap Games, Rovio (maker of the Angry Birds app), EA, Gameloft and Badoo,.