The mobile payments company Fortumo and the live streaming platform operator Fission are today announcing a direct carrier billing partnership. Users of Fission’s live streaming networks can now pay for premium features by charging purchases to their mobile phone bill and without the need for a credit card. In the launch phase, carrier billing has been rolled out to Fission’s networks Haahi and 7Nujoom the Middle Eastern and North African region.
“Fission’s goal is to provide our customers with the best online streaming experience possible. Carrier billing is one part of this, giving users the ability to quickly and easily make payments on our platform. We chose to partner with Fortumo for carrier billing due to their seamless user experience and strong market coverage with focus on emerging markets, which overlaps with our expansion plans and goals,” said Fission Business Director Mai Wulan.
“Carrier billing is the most accessible payment method globally after cash, as any mobile phone owner is able to make payments without the need for a credit card or a bank account. We are excited to support Fission in their global expansion by solving the payments challenge in emerging markets,” said Andrea Boetti, VP of Business Development at Fortumo.
Real-time entertainment accounts for 34% of total mobile traffic in the Middle Eastern region, per Sandvine's Global Internet Phenomena report. At the same time, credit card penetration in the region is around 10%. This means most users accessing live streaming services are unable to purchase premium features on these platforms. Carrier billing solves this problem by allowing any mobile phone owner to charge the payment to their monthly phone bill or deduct it from their prepaid SIM card. Additional data on carrier billing in the Middle East can be found in Fortumo’s recent market report.
To expand their payment reach, Fission integrated Fortumo’s Cross-Platform Mobile Payments product into streaming networks. This product allows Fission to collect payments from users in over 90 countries through one integration. Localization (support for 50 languages and 40 currencies) and platform-adaptive checkout flows increase user-friendliness of making payments which further increases payment conversion and revenue.
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is also used by app stores (Google Play), digital media providers (Spotify, Sony, HOOQ, Gaana) and gaming companies (EA Mobile, Gameloft, Kinguin, Rovio). To enable carrier billing for these merchants, Fortumo has partnered with more than 350 mobile operators across the world.
Founded by Beijing’s Fission Technology Co. Ltd., Haahi and 7nujoom are live broadcasting platforms for Turkey and The Middle East, respectively. Although the entertainment industry is relatively small in the Middle East and North Africa, the demand for it is growing. But due to religious and cultural differences the internet industry in Europe and the US is not able to sufficiently localize products and services. Although less restrictive than the Middle East, the difference in Turkey’s religious beliefs and political policies has also limited the development of internet industries from the west.
This has given Chinese companies a great opportunity to use sophisticated technology and localization models to explore new markets. Market forces and environmental factors have allowed Haahi and 7nujoom to come in now. 7nujoom and Haahi recruit Arabic and Turkish speaking talents from all over the world to provide entertaining live broadcasts to their user base. Localized digital gifts, face effects, membership system, VIP system, and useful broadcast tools such as user and host lists are all developed per the local culture and customs. The latest version adds new features for users to upload and share short videos and the ability to interact with host through guest broadcasting.