Carrier billing in 2019: Western Europe market report

Carrier billing in 2019: Central & Eastern Europe

Fortumo's latest market report takes a look at the carrier billing landscape in Western Europe: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland.

While Western Europe has high bank account ownership and credit card ownership ranges from 12% to 66%, carrier billing sees heavy usage by merchants primarily thanks to two reasons:

  • Simplicity: carrier billing checkout flows are substantially shorter compared to any other online payment method, usually requiring the user only to enter their phone number to complete the payment. This means less users cancel the checkout process, especially in case of impulse purchases.

  • Security: A growing amount of consumers have grown concern over identity theft and card-based fraud which has significantly increased over the past few years. With carrier billing, consumers’ personal data is not shared during the transaction which gives them an added sense of security to go through with the transaction.

Due to the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) being implemented across Europe recently, merchants selling digital content and services are likely to see a substantial drop in card-based payment conversion. This is due to strong authentication requirements that will become mandatory later in 2019. As a result, merchants will likely look for supplemental, alternative payment methods which provide better conversion. Carrier billing is one of the strongest candidates thanks to its widespread reach (any mobile device user can make payments) and exemption from the PSD2 regulations.

Additional growth for carrier billing will also be coming from segments that have traditionally not used carrier billing in Western Europe: digital publishers, public transportation services and ticketing providers.

While carrier billing is widely used by these segments in the Nordics (see our case studies with EasyPark and Aftonbladet), merchants in Western Europe have so far not adapted them. However, excellent commercial conditions and technical quality of modern carrier billing platforms will likely lead to significant uptake of carrier billing in these segments in the near future.

In the report, we have profiled the digital ecosystem and demographics of each of the major Western European markets. We have additionally included internal data from Fortumo, sharing information on what carrier billing solutions look like in the country, as well as data on user spending behavior which merchants can use to localize their payment strategy.

Download the report immediately by filling out the form below.

Telco partnerships as an organic match for OTT services

Telco partnerships as an organic match for OTT services

The days of appointment viewing TV are over and hopefully don’t make a comeback any time soon (unless as a weird hipster fad in some trendy neighbourhood we can’t even pronounce). It’s no wonder video on demand and streaming services have taken the world of entertainment by storm and show no signs of stopping. It’s just that comfortable!

At the same time this new market has gotten really cluttered really fast. Even though VOD is a breakthrough in the entertainment industry, people start to take it for granted. To get ahead in this competitive game, you have to offer just the right thing to the right person with the right price - and the right payment method.

This white paper focuses on the OTT industry, it’s newest trends and how they can benefit from telco partnerships and implementing direct carrier billing. It doesn’t matter if you deliver content in TV/movies, Sports or E-sports - the challenges and opportunities are intertwined in the whole sector.

We explain how telco partnerships are an organic match for all OTT providers. They help build seamless payment solutions and generate growth in both the number of customers and revenue.

Download the white paper immediately by filling out the form below.

June news recap: everything that happened beyond the blockchain

May in the digital ecosystem: overview of the biggest industry stories

Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency was the hottest story in the tech industry during June. But don’t worry, Fortumo is looking into the future as well. This month we published our white paper on telco partnerships for transportation companies. For other news from the industry, check out our summary below.

General mobile


Digital publishing

E-commerce & transportation



What can digital publishers learn from Spotify and Netflix

What can digital publishers learn from Spotify and Netflix

What do Spotify and Netflix have that newspapers don’t have? Exponential growth of (digital) subscribers for one. Digital publishing has been looking at those two streaming superstars for inspiration for a while now. Let’s take a look at if and what can publishers really learn from the streaming business.

Obviously music and video streaming is principally different from publishing journalistic content - both by business model and its social role. It’s socially vital that we have accessible, reliable and objective press. It’s not that vital if and how we can access the latest hits or binge on the recent hit show.

As it comes to the business model, it’s not directly adaptable to publishing. Netflix’s has become the synonym to binge watching and its success is based on four factors: creating original content, offering external high quality content, affordable pricing and accessibility anywhere from any device.

In February 2019 Spotify announced acquiring two podcasting companies. Other than that, they don’t create their own content. Spotify gets content from major record labels as well as independent artists, and pays copyright holders royalties for streamed music. Their business model is based on freemiums and subscriptions are their main revenue source. They encourage people to pay for music, as subscriptions remove advertisements and limits.

Obviously offering external content can’t work for a single publication and a cross publishers platform would threaten the publishers’ revenue even more. Apple’s plan to release a subscription news service caused an uproar with asking the publishers to give the company 50 percent of any revenues that they generate. It raised questions about big tech getting too powerful and the future of free press altogether.

Of course there are parts of their success that the publishing industry can and should replicate. Here are five points to consider from Spotify and Netflix’s success.

1. Solve your readers’ problems, not your own.

Big part of Netflix’s success is linked to their willingness to cannibalize their own business model. Its founders have had the ability to look as an outsider at their business model and see where the market is heading in the next decade. Netflix is constantly looking for ways to solve problems for many customers.

Constantly changing and evolving your business model is definitely not comfortable but in the case of Netflix, it’s been incredibly rewarding. Game changing times need bold and courageous decisions. Publishing should also analyze their value propositions and really think about the readers’ wants and needs. How can your content, form or payment model serve the reader better.

2. Really get to know your user (reader).

Both Spotify and Netflix have powerful algorithms that help them gain an insight into their customers’ preferences. They know exactly what customers want, when they want it and on what device. Netflix also creates their shows based on the analysis of their own customer data.

Yet again, it’s not that black and white in case of journalism, since at least some part of it shouldn’t be too personalized. Exposure to different opinions is necessary for the functioning of society. But research on the echo chambers and filter bubbles has revealed that people actually read lots of media - they consume five different sources on average and encounter diverse opinions there. In that light serving interesting and relevant content to your specific reader doesn’t necessarily mean coddling them with one-sided views of the world.

Also the content that people are willing to pay for, isn’t necessarily the same content that drives huge traffic. Wired’s experience with setting up a paywall shows that relatively small traffic can bring impressive amounts of subscribers, if the topic is relevant enough. This might work for publications with a really high brand value and a core group of loyal readers.

3. Make personalized package offers (or better yet, let the reader combine their own package).

Industry experts bring out that different media companies both in journalism and across different formats should consider cooperation between themselves. Consumers don’t want to limit themselves with just one media brand. The answer might be combining different competing media publications into one fixed price package. Bigger media groups can offer combined packages of their own different publications - or even let the client mix and match their own. For example someone might want to read one daily paper, 3 articles from a household magazine and get access to the cycling section of a sports magazine. The reader probably wouldn’t pay for the whole subscription to access only small pieces, but they would be willing to pay extra for content that’s really relevant to them.

Niche offers and channels are popping up left and right in the streaming business - you have dedicated channels for anime, e-sports or even classic British TV. Smaller streaming services see it as the opportunity to cater for very specific audiences who are also likely more committed and stickier.

4. Focus on high quality content.

Netflix spends more on original content than rivals and keeps beating them in customer satisfaction surveys. It shows that investing in high quality original content pays off.

Publishing experts note that just broadcasting news doesn’t cut it any more. The readers don’t want mere info and you can mostly cash in on added value, which can be found in investigative journalism. It is especially important to keep a constant level of quality because if a customer is disappointed once, the next time they’re not willing to pay for content.

5. New business models might take time to become profitable.

Spotify finally become profitable just this year. That’s right, it took them 13 years and 96 million paid subscribers to finally start making money. Reinventing the publishing business might also take some time and the transfer from profitable print journalism to profitable digital journalism will probably cause some growth pains, but other segments have had them, too. You should look at those struggles for inspiration and hope.

The future of publishing asks courageous decisions from today’s industry. They need to be willing to challenge the status quo and test anything from business models to prices to payment methods. Thankfully, if your current approach isn't working, trying a new approach can't make things any worse.

Attending NOAH Berlin 2019? Let's meet up!

Attending NOAH Berlin 2019? Let's meet up!

This week, Fortumo will be headed to the NOAH Conference in Berlin. If you are attending the event, get in touch and let’s set up a meeting.

NOAH is an event focused on digital growth. Telco partnerships are one way to achieve this growth. Companies from both traditional sectors such as transportation, classifieds and publishing, but also newer sectors such as or game development, streaming and social networking are using these partnerships to drive user acquisition, payments and loyalty.

If you’re interested in learning how Fortumo can help you with these goals, reach out and let’s find a time to chat in Berlin.

« Previous posts