Carrier billing in India – 2017 market report by Fortumo

During the last few years, India has become a superpower in the mobile ecosystem. The country now has more smartphones than the United States, being only exceeded by China. Just this summer, India also became the biggest country by number of Facebook users.

There are several reasons behind India’s rapid mobile ecosystem growth:

  1. The country’s overall economy is growing quickly (7.1% annually, compared to the US at 1.6%)
  2. Significant decline in the prices of Android phones, making smartphones more affordable
  3. Continued decline of mobile data costs, causing India to take lead in mobile data consumption

Coupled with the world’s second largest population, it is no wonder that everyone operating in the digital market has their sights set on India. Despite the smaller income of consumers, the market is attractive to digital companies as user acquisition costs are smaller as well. In fact, CPA for Google Play apps is 12x lower than in the US and for iOS apps, 3.8x lower.

Despite a booming (mobile) economy, growth in the market can be challenging for digital merchants. Low income and past habit to consume digital content for free (including piracy) means a relatively small part of the population is able and willing to pay for online content and services.

Even in case there is willingness to pay for a digital service, many people do not have the channels available to do so. The banking industry has not caught up with the rest of the economy and this means access to traditional, bank-based payment methods is low, illustrated by single-digit credit card ownership in the country.

As a result, adopting alternative payments is one of the key challenges for merchants looking to expand their user base and revenue in the country. This market report aims to help merchants in solving that challenge by providing information on carrier billing in the country.

Its widespread availability (any phone owner can make online payments) coupled with powerful marketing channels of mobile operators providing the payment method mean carrier billing should not be underestimated when expanding to India.

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