Fortumo has grabbed a big partnership with Telefónica and Telenor, bringing their mobile payments solution to 460 million additional subscribers. The Estonian company provides mobile operator billing and in-app purchasing on Android, Windows Phone, and online, which may sound like a dead business in the Nordics, but is still a rapidly growing business in areas where credit card penetration is low. For example, Brazil, one of Telefónica’s key markets, has 260 million mobile users, but only 60 million credit cards.
Meanwhile, “A significant part of Telenor’s around 150 million subscribers come from emerging markets in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe where mobile phone is often the only way to pay for digital content,” says Sven Størmer Thaulow, Head of Comoyo at Telenor Digital Services.
Another big part of this news is that these operators are now plugging into the BlueVia Payments API, which Fortumo says is becoming the industry standard for direct carrier billing. “This means payments are completed within seconds, the technical solution takes less than an hour for developers to integrate, and – due to its simplicity – it becomes a viable competitor for credit cards also in emerged markets,” explains Mattias Liivak Head of Marketing & PR.
Developers using Fortumo include Rovio, Popcap, Gameloft, Digital Chocolate, Vostu, Game Insight, Alawar and a number of others.
The games industry is the obvious plug-in for this type of integration, but it will be interesting to see how startups plug into carrier billing for less-traditional uses.