Fortumo rolls out carrier billing for apps and games in India
Steven Millward | On September 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm
With the number of credit card-less and “unbanked” people in India, it can be hard for developers to make money from their apps and games in the country. Estonia-based mobile payment platform Fortumo is now filling this gap, this week rolling out direct carrier billing to four of India’s top telcos.
Fortumo’s mobile credit billing works in India for subscribers of Vodafone, Airtel, Idea, and Tata Domoco. So there are still some major omissions, but those four telcos account for 61 percent of India’s mobile users. This system now works in India on Android and Windows Phone, plus it’s good for Windows 8 apps and games as well.
Fortumo’s Gerry Kodres seems to have celebrated the deal by transforming into a follower of multi-armed deity Vishnu:
While it’s good for developers to have more of a chance to reach this growing market, the revenue share is pretty bad relative to the 70 percent that developers get from the main app stores like Google Play and iTunes. Instead, both Fortumo and the telcos need to take a cut, which leaves developers and startups getting from 49 percent to 53 percent share of revenue depending on the Indian telco involved.
But that’s how things roll once more middlemen get involved. Fortumo has the same system in place in China on that nation’s oligopoly trio of telcos, but developers get a measly 35 percent from Chinese in-app sales.
Of course, this doesn’t appear like magic in all apps used by Indian consumers. In-app payments will only be available if an app developer chooses to integrate it, as we saw done by the Cubie messaging app earlier this year.
(Editing by Josh Horwitz)