The mobile payments company Fortumo is today launching hybrid subscriptions using carrier billing. Hybrid subscriptions enable merchants to provide access to content on a limited time basis in low-income markets. Fortumo’s new product is intended to complement its subscription payments solution (available in more than 20 countries globally) in regions where recurring billing has proven to be ineffective and where carriers have not enabled it.
“People living in countries like India, Thailand and Nigeria can access online content but cannot pay for it due to the lack of credit cards. The pricing of this content is often mismatched with local income since most users cannot afford a $9.99 subscription for 30 days. Merchants we work with have found success by going local, for example by charging $0.49 for daily or $2.49 for weekly access. This means hybrid subscriptions with carrier billing give merchants a single technical platform to adapt their business for local market conditions and consequently grow their revenue,” said Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo.
With hybrid subscriptions users select a time duration for content access and then pay for it on their phone bill. This means streaming merchants like Spotify or Netflix can enable daily or weekly access to entertainment with scaled pricing, significantly increasing the amount of users who can afford to make payments. Fortumo’s recently published Emerging Markets Payment Index indicates that in the fastest growing emerging markets the average payment size for digital content is well below $1; this makes the existing pricing logic of most digital merchants unsuitable for many markets.
Hybrid subscriptions feature an automatic purchasing power parity engine which assesses spending patterns across 350 mobile operators connected to Fortumo. While the merchant is setting up their payment service, the engine gives recommendations for hybrid subscription pricing and duration which has proven to be effective for each carrier. Pilot merchants using hybrid subscriptions are seeing approximately 1.6x higher payment conversion from hybrid subscriptions compared to regular one-off payments.
Fortumo’s hybrid subscriptions product is intended for music and video streaming companies, digital newsstands, web and server hosting providers, social networks, dating sites and other merchants whose existing business model is based on recurring payments. Hybrid subscriptions are available to merchants across all 88 markets that Fortumo covers through one payment integration. Fortumo also provides recurring billing using mobile payments in more than 20 countries, among them Brazil, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Romania and India.
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing technology provides the best checkout experience to end-users depending on the platform used (desktop, mobile web, feature phone or smart TV). This means merchants need to only integrate carrier billing once in order to start accepting payments on any platform.