Carrier billing in the Nordics: 2018 market report by Fortumo

Carrier billing in the Nordics: 2018 market report by Fortumo

Nordic countries have become the symbol of happiness and quality of life. All four of them rank high in the world’s happiest countries list, with Finland being the winner for 2018. Nordic lifestyle is the new craze of life-improvement and different terms like “hygge” or “sisu" are popping up on countless articles. So what do we have to learn about payments from these iconic northerner lifestyle-gurus and what do they think about carrier billing?

Nordic markets have significantly high bank card ownership. Sweden is even called the most cashless country in Europe and predicted to become the world’s first cashless society. The rest of the Nordic countries are not far behind. Carrier billing is still a preferred option for many consumers thanks to its simplicity and safety.

In the report, we have brought out a high-level overview of each market’s digital ecosystem, as well as specific data on carrier billing that helps merchants localize their approach to each country.

Enter your contact details below and download the report immediately!

Reverse bundling: getting more value out of digital partnerships

Reverse bundling: getting more value out of digital partnerships

The practice of giving out free or discounted telco services is a standard marketing practice for mobile operators. In emerging markets, reverse bundling is done together with OEM-s: buy a handset, get a cheaper prepaid service pack as part of the deal.

Compared to the traditional bundling model where fixed term contracts are sold with a discount on the handset, reverse bundling works better for emerging markets where consumers are not keen on making the switch from prepaid to postpaid.

Today, OTT providers have grown to be as important for mobile operators as OEM-s, and in some cases, overshadow the telcos themselves in brand recognition. The device is less relevant today and people instead care more about which services they are able to access through it.

Digital bundles have been successfully implemented for the postpaid audience, but the prepaid majority in emerging markets has been left out. As we recently wrote, there are several ways how to overcome that.

So where does reverse bundling fit in? It’s actually quite simple: when a consumer buys a digital service, they get free or discounted data from the mobile operator. A growing amount of mobile operators today have a mobile data provisioning API available, but so far this has been used mostly for basic service reselling partnerships whereas expanding it with OTT partners has much bigger value.

For telcos, enabling this type of reverse bundling model serves three purposes:

  • Additional revenue is generated from mobile data sales

  • Consumer habits are changed as they are pushed towards mobile data consumption

  • OTT providers can directly target offers to subscribers of competitors

Reverse bundling flips the traditional telco-OTT model on its head. But this begs the question, if the value of bundling for OTT-s is to get new users, why would they care about promoting telco services in their marketing channels with reverse bundling?

The main value for OTT providers from reverse bundling is improving their conversion. Today, most streaming services operate using a freemium model and most of their users are not premium. Any marketing strategies that motivate users to start paying for the service are immensely valuable.

If the balance between the subscriber’s lifetime value and the mobile data cost are profitable for the OTT, the model can successfully be used to convert more people into paying customers.

Fortumo’s Trident Bundling Platform supports reverse bundling partnerships as well. If you are a mobile operator or OTT interested in exploring the approach for increased user engagement, get in touch.

Rethinking the paywall in digital publishing

Rethinking the paywall in digital publishing

Raise your hand, if you’ve ever used the free trial subscription and actually put a reminder in your calendar to cancel the subscription right before the deadline. This reader behaviour is more common than you would think and the readers are mostly less than reluctant to pay for general media content (but they’re more willing to pay for in-depth journalism, analysis, etc.). It’s no secret that the publishing industry is struggling with monetizing their business model. Digital media has largely relied on paid ads as a monetization strategy, but this tactic is also becoming increasingly harder to balance.

On one hand people are learning to ignore ads so well there’s even a name for it - ad blindness. On the other hand the users are getting more and more annoyed by the ads and using ad blockers is becoming a standard part of good digital hygiene. Already around one third of all Internet users block ads in 2018. Even though ad blocking has been mostly a desktop issue which requires a lot more work on smartphones, there is a clear rising trend of ad blocking on mobile sessions as well. Ad blockers might soon be already built in the browsers - for example the newest Google Chrome will block “abusive” ads on its own. On top of it all the advertising dollars are increasingly spent on the new (social) media instead of the old one.

Social media is the go-to place for finding news for the younger generation. But not all is lost for the traditional media. Flexibility seems to be the magical ingredient for the rising market force of the millennial generation. Millennials consume news and information in strikingly different ways than previous generations, and their paths to discovery are more nuanced and varied than some may have imagined. On the positive note the millennial generation is willing and often actually pays for digital content.

The need for a better monetization strategy in the publishing business is evident even without the decline of paid ads or reluctance to buy full subscriptions. Even though there probably isn’t a magical one-size-fits-all solution to this equation, at least part of the answer might be micropayments. Basically it’s a compromise between being hit in the head with a strict paywall and subscribing full-time to one publication. Instead the reader can make small payments for additional articles and be eased into payments more gradually.

mobile payments

This pay-as-you-go model gives more flexibility to the reader, but also helps sort out customers, who are willing to pay for the content at all - even if just a little at first. Depending on the perceived value for the reader and the number of articles they are reading, it’s possible to convert them into subscribers over time. They can test the product without the scary long-time commitment.

As in many other sectors nowadays, everything mobile is also the new way in media. Growing mobile devices usage has become the driver of media consumption, with an average person spending 479 minutes daily consuming media and a quarter of all global media being consumed on mobile. It is predicted, that by 2020 28% of global media consumption will be mobile. At the same time the traditional ways of consuming media (radio, TV, printed press) are slowly (but surely?) lagging behind.

Mobile payments are a natural choice for mobile-consumed content as the payment device is already in the customer’s hand. At the same time the reader’s mobile identity has been established previously by their operator. This makes the signing up process effortless for the reader matching the value of micropayments. You wouldn’t bother looking up your credit card information for a transaction smaller than a dollar - in many cases you probably wouldn’t even dare to share that information left and right. All in all micropayments are worth considering, as it might just be the missing piece of your monetizing puzzle.

October summary: acquisitions, investments and birthdays galore

October summary: acquisitions, investments and birthdays galore

During October, Fortumo turned 11 years old. Our good partners at Google also celebrated a decade of Google Play. Congratulations! Other than that, the largest software acquisition ever took place and several major startups received additional funding. For more news from the industry, check out our summary below and don’t skip out the new MENA market report.

General mobile



Digital content


Do-it-yourself: the corporate homepage toolkit

Do-it-yourself: the corporate homepage toolkit

Today it's time for some inspiration.

Ever wondered why every corporate website in the industry feels the same? It's because they mostly are.

We came to the conclusion after looking through some dozen telco corporate websites and found they have quite a lot in common.

If you need any inspiration to make your next presentation or product pitch impressive but vague, this will get you started. Windmills!

Do-it-yourself: the corporate homepage toolkit

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