Vietnamese mobile carrier Viettel has clinched a partnership with mobile payment firm Fortumo to launch direct carrier billing for digital content to its subscribers.
Fortumo will provide the billing platform to Viettel to enable the launch of carrier billing on major app stores, as well as for many top Asian digital content merchants including Box TV, Ditto TV, Gaana, UCWeb/Alibaba, Mobogenie, Octro and Games2Win.
As a result of the partnership, more than 55 million Vietnamese will be to purchase digital content online by charging payments to their mobile phone bill, the companies said.
"Mobile operators get the best value out of their billing platform if they enable payments for app stores but also for video and music streaming providers, game developers and other digital merchants," Fortumo chief business officer Gerri Kodres commented.
"Viettel is the leading mobile operator in Vietnam and we are excited to work together with them in launching carrier billing for app stores as well as for other top tier digital companies."
According to statistics by the World Bank, only 2% of people in Vietnam own a credit card and only 27% have a debit card, making the country a market with huge potential for carrier billing.
At the same time, SuperDataResearch estimates that already now 15.8% of all digital gaming transactions in the country are done through carrier billing - and the proportion should grow along with the gap between smartphone ownership and access to bank-based payments.
The collaboration between Viettel and Fortumo is intended to bridge this gap in payment access as online payments become available to anyone who owns a mobile phone, the companies said.
As well as Viettel, Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is currently in use by more than 350 mobile operators in 94 countries offering payment for over 130,000 merchants.
The platform is currently available to over 2.5 billion consumers in 16 Asian countries. In August Fortumo announced the launch of carrier billing with Thai mobile carrier DTAC.