Pakistani mobile operator Zong, a division of China Mobile, has partnered mobile payments company Fortumo to roll out direct carrier billing.
The new service allows digital content merchants and app stores to use the Fortumo carrier billing platform to collect payments from Zong’s 26 million customers in Pakistan.
Fortumo already has an existing direct carrier billing partnership with Telenor Pakistan, with its platform available to over 1.3 billion people in 16 Asian countries. It is active in 95 countries globally, reaching over 3 billion end-users.
“Millions of people in emerging markets are accessing the internet only from their phones,” said Gerri Kodres, chief business officer at Fortumo.
“This new digital audience is connected to the world but cannot access paid content as a majority of them do not own credit cards. We are looking forward to working together with Zong in Pakistan to enable merchants access to this growing audience through carrier billing.”
Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform allows users to make payments over a data connection by confirming purchases with one click on their smartphone. These payments are then processed without the need for any additional information.
The platform is used by app stores such as Google Play and Windows Phone Store, as well as leading digital content providers and game developers such as Sony, HOOQ and Electronic Arts. The company recently announced a similar partnership with Malaysian mobile operator Digi, part of Telenor Group.
The World Bank says Pakistan has a credit card penetration of less than one per cent, though an estimated 56 million Pakistanis have smartphones. With the adoption of smartphone services being accelerated after the 2014 launches of 3G networks by both Zong and Telenor, Fortumo believes direct carrier billing can enable the spread of electronic payments in the country.