Mobile carrier billing provider Fortumo is upping its game in Africa with the addition of new markets with low existing payment card usage.

Estonia-based Fortumo will provide its service for purchasing digital content and paying through a phone bill to more than 79 million mobile phone owners in Algeria, Ghana and Tanzania.

“Africa’s digital ecosystem is quickly growing and we are seeing strong interest from international merchants who want to expand their activities there," Gerri Kodres, chief business officer at Fortumo, said in a May 8 press release. "While each day a large amount of new smartphone owners are coming online, collecting payments from these users has so far been a challenge."

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News

The company's expansion in Africa gives local consumers "better access to digital mobile services such as games, music, and video while helping merchants generate additional revenue from the region,” Kodres added.

A year ago, Fortumo increased its presence in Sub-Saharan Africa to seven countries when adding service for consumers in Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Senegal.

Last June, Fortumo also secured partnerships in the Philippines with Globe Telecom, where the market had 40% of consumers owning smartphones, but only 3% having access to a credit card.

The three new African markets where Fortumo has launched also have low credit card penetration: Algeria at 6%, Ghana at 0.9% and Tanzania at 0.7%, the company said, making it difficult for consumers to initiate payments when shopping online.

Carrier billing allows any mobile owner to make payments through their carrier and either deduct payments from their airtime balance or charge them to their monthly phone bill.

Fortumo says in the Middle Eastern and African region, its carrier billing is now available to more than 600 million people in 24 countries. Globally, over 3.5 billion people in 97 countries can make payments using their mobile phone with merchants who have integrated Fortumo.

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