Carrier billing in Western Europe: 2016 market report by Fortumo

Carrier billing in Western Europe 2016 market report by Fortumo

Our latest market report gives an overview of the mobile payments landscape of Western Europe. It covers 12 markets where Fortumo has coverage. These markets are Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland.

Even though Western Europe is a region with high income and good access to bank-based payment services, many people still prefer to use alternative payment methods such as carrier billing. This is illustrated by the fact that carrier billing is among the top 3 payment methods for digital gaming in most of the countries profiled.

Carrier billing is popular in Western Europe primarily due to two reasons. As carrier billing does not require users to sign up for any accounts, payments can be completed with one step. This creates an improved checkout experience over bank-based payment solutions, especially on mobile devices. Furthermore, high awareness of card-not-present fraud has increased the usage of carrier billing as a safe, alternative payment method. This is because with carrier billing, no personal or sensitive data is transmitted during the checkout process.

It’s important to note that Western Europe is a primarily postpaid market, e.g. users have a contract with their mobile operator and pay for items purchased through carrier billing at the end of each month. This creates a higher risk of friendly fraud (chargebacks) compared to emerging markets where most users have a prepaid SIM card. To find out how to mitigate friendly fraud, please read our white paper on risk management with carrier billing.

Fortumo’s Western European market report gives a high-level overview of the biggest markets in the region:

  • Demographic data, mobile coverage and banking access of each market
  • Carrier billing spend behavior of users in each market (quarterly revenue per paying user, average transaction size)
  • Overview of mobile operators and their market shares
  • Overview of traffic sources by platform and recommendations for localization

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Fortumo Merchants Portal: your one stop shop for carrier billing

Fortumo Merchants Portal - your one stop shop for carrier billing

Today we are excited to announce the launch of our revamped Merchants Portal, previously known as Fortumo’s Developers Portal. The new version of the portal includes existing information on the technical integration of Fortumo’s payment products. In addition, we have also added substantial new content on the commercial and operational aspects of carrier billing based on your feedback.

If you are a new merchant evaluating our payment products, we recommend you first start by looking through the updated list of frequently asked questions and the Getting Started page. This will answer most of the questions users have about Fortumo.

In addition to the improved FAQ, Fortumo’s Merchants Portal is now divided into six parts:

  1. Getting started: a general overview of carrier billing, choosing the right payment product for your business and frequently asked questions about Fortumo
  2. Integration documents: technical documentation on how to create payment services on Fortumo’s Dashboard and integrating our payment products into your mobile app or website
  3. Testing payments: information about testing your payment services after you have successfully integrated them, to make sure everything works correctly before you launch payments for your customers
  4. Compliance information: with carrier billing being regulated on a country and carrier basis, here we have gathered information on compliance rules which help speed up the approval process which precedes the launch of your services
  5. Commercial terms: information about the payouts of carrier billing, as well as how to configure your Fortumo account to make sure we are able to make payouts to you once you start processing payments
  6. Post-launch activities: information on how to provide your customers with great end-user support as well as guidance on growing your revenue with the help of payment analysis

We hope you like our new Merchants Portal. Let us know what you think of the new portal by using the feedback buttons at the bottom of each page.

Fortumo’s Emerging Markets Payment Index updated for Q2 2016

Today we are publishing the updated version of Fortumo’s Emerging Markets Payment Index.

The aim of the index is to provide digital media companies, web and game developers a benchmark for their revenue in markets with high smartphone growth and low credit card penetration.

The countries covered in the index are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and Philippines.

Check out how emerging markets performed in Q2 2016 below! If you are interested in more data on carrier billing and the mobile ecosystem of emerging markets, download our other market reports and white papers.

What happened in the mobile industry during June?

What happened in the mobile industry during June

Another month is past us and it’s time to take a look back at the biggest news in the mobile industry. Check out our summary of June below!

General mobile



Digital content


What do you think of our blog? Survey time!

What do you think of our blog - survey time

Fortumo develops payment products that help your users across the world make purchases through carrier billing. In addition to that, we want to help grow your business in the smartest possible way. That’s why we run this blog: to provide you with insights and data on the industry.

As we have quite a loyal readership (12% of you visit the blog on a daily basis) we must be doing something right. We hope you find the content here useful and would now like to ask for your help to make it even better.

We are running a short survey to find out why you read the blog and how it could be improved. Click here to access it. The survey has only 7 questions and should take no longer than a few minutes to fill out.

If you also share your contacts in the survey, we will enter you into a prize draw for a $25 Amazon gift card. We’ll also send you a summary of the results once the survey is done.

The survey will close on July 7th, 10AM UK time. Share your thoughts with us before that and help us make Fortumo’s blog better for you!

What’s the best time to organize a promotional campaign for your digital business?

What’s the best time to organize a promotional campaign for your digital business

For most most online commerce companies, December is the biggest month of the year in terms of revenue. That’s because people are buying gifts for the Christmas season. But not all people in the world celebrate Christmas, nor does the buying spree happen at the same time globally. Below we have listed global and regional events around which digital content merchants can additionally plan campaigns to increase revenue.

Secular and traditional events

During the off-holiday season which comprises most of the year, there are several times of the year when people are more inclined to make online purchases and give gifts to one another. These occasions happen on a global level which merchants can take advantage of:

  • Mother’s and Father’s Day: these take place at different times in various countries, which also allows merchants to run a similar, but localized campaign for different markets
  • Valentine’s Day: February 14th is the date when most couples show appreciation for each other. In the UK for example, almost half of the population buys something for their loved one on this day
  • Back-to-school and graduation periods: The young audience that graduates from (or starts going to) high schools and universities each year is sizeable. As they are the most connected demographic in society, gifts of digital goods and services are usually more than welcome.
  • Global sporting events: Recurring events such as the Olympic games, the Cricket World Cup, FIFA World Championship etc. can be leveraged by merchants to drive purchasing of sports-related content.

Read more »

White paper: risk and fraud management with carrier billing

White paper risk and fraud management with carrier billing

Today we are excited to publish our carrier billing risk management guide. This guide allows carriers and merchants to get a better understanding on how to monitor payment traffic for fraudulent activity and mitigate risk of bad debt by managing user spend limits while encouraging spending for legitimate users.

Risk management for carrier billing works in the combination of input from carriers, payment service providers like Fortumo and merchants . As a combination of these criteria, individual transactions can be assessed as well as spending limits applied to specific users and user groups.

Managing risk helps avoid a situation where subscribers encounter bill shock (realizing they have made more purchases than they expected). This in turn reduces customer complaints, chargeback request as well as potential issues with regulators.

Having a proper risk management solution in place helps both merchants and carriers increase revenue (enabling higher spending limits and allowing transactions from low-risk, high-spending users) while minimizing revenue losses (reduced amount of fraudulent payments and bad debt).

Download this white paper if you are interested in learning more about:

  • Types of fraud and their likelihood with carrier billing
  • Attributes that can be used for assessing user and transaction risk with carrier billing
  • Mitigating risk through applying (dynamic) spending limits to user groups
  • Criteria that should be considered when accepting and rejecting transactions
  • Examples of dynamically managing spend limits and assessing transactions
  • Suggestions for merchants in order to reduce their fraud risk with carrier billing

Enter your contact details below, click “Submit” and we will send you a link to the download to your e-mail.

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What metrics to measure for your payment solutions?

Fortumo - what metrics to measure for your payment solutions

Regardless of what type of digital content you are selling online, analyzing revenue is a critical part of growing your business. To get a complete picture of performance, there are three different aspects to consider:

  1. Consumer behavior: user segmentation, purchasing behavior etc.
  2. Inventory performance: top-selling items, largest margins etc.
  3. Payment method performance

In this post, we take a look at the analysis of the last aspect, payment methods. While in the past merchants could use just one payment method and a standard payment flow (credit cards), the world has changed. As we recently pointed out, a majority of the digital audience no longer has access to this type of payment. So what metrics should you be tracking when integrating different payment methods to your digital business?

Read more »

Market report: carrier billing in the Commonwealth of Independent States

Market report - carrier billing in the Commonwealth of Independent States

We are happy to announce the addition of a new report to our line-up. This time we present you with an overview of the mobile market in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The report covers 7 countries where Fortumo has coverage: Russia, CIS associate member Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Armenia.

CIS is significantly different from both Europe and Asia in that Russian culture and language are the predominant ones in the region. This also extends to online content consumption: Yandex provides significant competition to Google while VK prevails over Facebook. Digital content merchants entering this region should keep this in mind both from a localization and user acquisition perspective.

If you want to understand what the mobile market in the CIS region looks like, this market report will give you the following insights:

  • Demographic data, mobile coverage and banking access of each market
  • Carrier billing spend behavior of users in each market (quarterly revenue per paying user, average transaction size and transaction volume)
  • Overview of mobile operators and their market shares
  • Overview of traffic sources by platform and recommendations for localization

Enter your contact details below, click “Submit” and we will send you a link to the download to your e-mail. 

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What was noteworthy in the Internet Trends Report 2016?

What was noteworthy in the Internet Trends Report 2016 Fortumo

Have you already checked out the Internet Trends Report 2016? This annual slide deck from the venture capital company KPCB is an excellent source for understanding where the online and mobile industry is moving. Out of the 200+ slides of the presentation, here are the key points that stood out for us from a payments perspective as well as additional reading materials:

  • Slides 5-7: Internet user growth is slowing down globally but the rate is increasing in India. For digital merchants, this represents a significant challenge as a growing amount of their audience will be located in India, a market with extremely low access to traditional bank-based payments. To get a better understanding of the country, check out our India market report.
  • Slide 10: In addition to India, Asia on a broader level has solidified its position in the mobile ecosystem. More than half of smartphone owners of the world are now located in the Asia Pacific region. For more stats on Asia, download our Asia market report.
  • Slide 15: There is a huge disparity of users’ ability to buy smartphones, with phones being proportionally 10x cheaper to German consumers than those in Nigeria. This means digital companies focusing on emerging markets should seek out those device manufacturers who produce lower end phones as those are bound to have a higher reach in these markets.
  • Slide 37-38: “Easy Growth Behind Us” sums up the challenges of today’s digital merchants, something which we also wrote about back in January on VentureBeat. With few users entering the mobile ecosystem in Western markets, merchants will need to move fast and enter emerging regions to continue growing.
  • Slide 46-47: Online ads continue to be an annoyance and an increasing number of consumers are installing ad blockers to circumvent advertising. Microtransactions for digital publishing are one way to begin tackling this issue.
  • Slide 86-89: Sports streaming is predicted to explode and mobile operators have the opportunity to grab a piece of this huge market.
  • Slide 103: Messaging apps are becoming the central services hubs of the smartphone ecosystem. For mobile operators, working together with these OTT service providers is becoming a bigger necessity than ever before. Read more from our recent blog post as well as GSMA’s internet value chain report.
  • Slide 174-175: While most digital companies want to enter China, another significant opportunity is to cater to Chinese tourists abroad. As KPCB points out, China is the biggest “outbound tourism spending country” with the most highly engaged smartphone payment solution users.
  • Slide 184: Video and music entertainment is increasingly moving online, especially in Asia where there have been numerous new launches of streaming services over the past few months.
  • Slide 187: Sadly no Indian companies can be found among the internet market leaders of 2016. Perhaps India’s upstream internet growth compared to the global trend will change this by 2017?

What other highlights does the Internet Trends Report contain for you this year? Let us know in the comments below!