The mobile payments company Fortumo and mobile operator Telenor Pakistan on 1 July launched direct carrier billing in Pakistan. With this deal over 35 million subscribers of Telenor Pakistan will be able to make easy online payments by charging purchases to their phone bill. Fortumo will also start powering in-app purchasing for Telenor App Store.
“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. 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,” said Fortumo SVP business development and carrier relations Gerri Kodres in a statement.
“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,” Telenor Pakistan director – digital services Muhammd Farooq Shaikh added. “The facility will play a big role in promoting online commerce through convenience and accessibility.”
Less than 1.5 million people in Pakistan own credit cards while there over 130 million mobile phone users in the country. Therefore, mobile operator billing increases merchants’ payment coverage in the country almost 90 times. Smartphone ownership in Pakistan is estimated to grow by 50 per cent this year and is currently around 15 per cent. Smartphone adoption will be further accelerated with the launch of 3G services by Telenor Pakistan and other operators in the country.
Telenor has also implemented Fortumo in-app purchasing in its Telenor App Store which features games from top developers like Gameloft, GLU Mobile and Creative Mobile. In addition to Telenor App Store, Fortumo’s Android SDK can be used in dozens of other Android marketplaces with just one integration.
As announced in May 2013, Fortumo has signed global framework agreement with Telenor Group, covering 12 countries in Europe & Asia.
Direct carrier billing lets 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 per cent and higher for repeat purchases as per the company.