Once again, Mobile World Congress has come and gone. The event was record-breaking with more than 100 thousand attendees making the expo area swarm like a beehive. In case you have had no time to check up on media or were actually busy at the event itself, you can get up to date with a summary of what was announced through the event’s homepage or TechCrunch.
While for most attendees the event means getting early access to new gadgets and listening to keynotes, the event is quite different for us. Fortumo’s 6-member delegation held more than 70 (76 to be exact) meetings with our mobile operator, app store, digital content and gaming partners. Everyone comes together to Barcelona for the week which is a great opportunity to evaluate the tones and trends of the mobile industry.
On one hand, it was great to see that mobile operators are in a better position than they have ever been to grab a strong market share in the online payments industry, something which envisioned in a recent white paper. The technical level of direct carrier billing platforms of many mobile operators is already advanced enough to support industries which have so far relied only on credit cards but are looking to expand their payment coverage with better converting and more widely available payment methods.
Features like token-based, two-step charging that is essential for segments like streaming, ridesharing and mobile insurance are becoming increasingly commonplace. And we are excited to help those mobile operators who do not yet have such capabilities available to bring them up to date to match the merchants’ expectations.
At the same time, most merchants have a very clear understanding of where they see the biggest potential in carrier billing: Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. All these regions have a significant online payments gap and the popularity of carrier billing has grown tremendously. In India for example, transaction volumes are today 2.5x bigger than they were a year ago, in Russia 60% higher etc.
Carrier billing commercial terms and technology have also grown to a level that is suitable to merchants processing tenfold volumes compared to legacy segments. If you want a peek into these regions, check out our recent carrier billing market reports on Europe, Middle East and Asia.
At joint meetings with merchants and partners, it was also great to see that both parties are helping each other evolve. For example merchants giving strategic input on technical features necessary for their segment and mobile operators sharing insights into how to extract the most value out of carrier billing in their market. Such strategic guidance benefits both sides and the industry as a whole by increasing the quality of payment services provided by mobile operators.
The main thing we felt at MWC is that Fortumo is very well positioned both in terms of our market focus and technical capabilities to deliver more value to both existing (digital, app stores, gaming) and new (financial services, ridesharing, insurance) segments. 2016 will be an exciting year for merchants, mobile operators and Fortumo alike.