This is big news for mobile developers who develop mobile apps for Indian audience. The only way mobile developers could monetize their apps till now was, either through advertising or through in-app purchases that used credit cards (through Google Wallet). The issue with these 2 options is, advertising in apps yields less revenue and the percentage of people having credit cards in India is quite miniscule, severely restricting the number of people who can make in-app purchases.
The most viable and lucrative option for mobile developers is to use direct carrier billing that makes in-app purchases a breeze for any mobile app user. Direct carrier billing means that, when mobile users makes an in-app purchase, the amount is either deducted from the balance that user has (in case of prepaid users) or then it appear in the mobile bill (for post paid users).
Very few Indian mobile apps have direct carrier billing built into them. They were limited to apps developed by telecom operator themselves. Recently, Bharti Softbank released 2 games that relied on direct carrier billing due to their tie-ups with Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
But this scenario may soon change – Fortumo, a global mobile payment solutions company announced that they have introduced direct carrier billing in India. According to their official announcement, Fortumo has has tied up with four of the India’s largest mobile operators enables direct carrier billing for over 530 million mobile phone users, the largest coverage of any mobile payment provider in the country. Fortumo has tied up with Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Tata Docomo through direct carrier billing.
With Fortumo direct carrier billing solution, mobile developers can enable their apps for users to make frictionless payments without sending text messages, which leads to a faster payment flow and increased conversion.
How Fortumo Direct Carrier Billing Works
Fortumo has full featured mobile payments API and mobile web billing SDKs that developers can use to integrate payment solutions within their apps and games. Currently, Fortumo allows developers to integrate mobile payments into their web app, Android, Windows 8 or Windows Phone app.
Mobile App user can then purchases digital goods by confirming the payment with their mobile phone and charging the amount to their phone bill. Fortumo checks its list of 300 operators to see where to send the payment request and forwards it to the correct operator.
The telecom operator checks if the user has enough money to make a mobile payment and sends information back to Fortumo. When everything is verified, Fortumo completes the transaction and lets the developer know to transfer digital goods to the user. At the end of the month, all payments are transferred to the developer.
Direct Carrier Billing is definitely is big boost for Mobile developer ecosystem in India – With Fortumo’s now offering it, we should definitely see many more developers using in-app purchases!
If you are a mobile developer, I would surely want to hear what you think of this!