Mobile operator Telia Norway has partnered with Estonia-based mobile technology developer Fortumo to allow its 2 million subscribers to pay for content from the Google Play app store by charging purchases to their phone bills. Telia’s units in Estonia and Latvia also offer carrier billing through Fortumo.
In addition to its technical contributions, Fortumo will share insights about how the operator can generate more revenue from the app store. Having already executed many deployments of Google Play in the region, Fortumo is able to identify areas in which Telia Norway can improve users’ carrier billing experience.
Telia Norway will also be able to take advantage of the Fortumo’s data analytics platform, Fortuno Insight, which gives operators real-time access to app store performance data.
Carrier billing has long been a way for MNOs to generate some extra revenue, improve customer relations by making it easier to purchase apps and other content, and even promote greater data usage.
This carrier billing initiative from Telia Norway and Fortumo shares in the potential for all these benefits and adds another—the use of data analytics to track users’ performance data. If Fortumo Insight does indeed provide the kind of precise, targeted information it promises, then Telia will be able to learn a good deal more about what kinds of apps and other content its users prefer, as well as gaining some insight into how these users are apportioning their data allowances. we believe this knowledge, properly leveraged, would help the operator create targeted offerings that would address the specific data needs of its customers, as well as making choices about possible zero-rating of heavily-used content sources, if desired.
On a more mundane level, using Fortumo’s industry experience to determine how to make users’ interaction with Google Play carrier billing more seamless and pleasant should result in more usage of the billing service per customer, and in more customers deciding to participate. That alone will drive revenue for the operator, in terms of commissions on app store sales.
One note of caution to sound is that as with all customer tracking processes, there are potential privacy issues here. Even if there is no genuine compromise of privacy, operators need to be mindful of public perception on this subject, which is currently receiving a great deal of media attention.