Assume that everybody in Germany and the Nordic countries, including children and grandparents, have a smartphone. You would get close, but still not enough, to the number of users that Estonian company Fortumo is helping Amazon to potentially reach in India. Through a partnership with local, state-owned telecommunications operator BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited), Amazon is offering customers of the Indian company a one-year subscription to Prime on selected plans. The market is Asian, the service provider is American, but the matchmaker is Estonian.
Fortumo would not need extensive introductions by now anymore, though repetita iuvant. The company figures, by all means, among the top enterprises on LIFT99’s Wall of Fame, celebrating the biggest startup success stories born in Estonia. Fortumo enables digital service providers with increased capacity in user acquisition, monetization and retention. Since 2009 it provides solutions to global companies in order to help them grow through partnerships with telcos even in previously unexplored markets. With a proven track of collaborations with the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Spotify, there’s one thing they know well – networks matter.
A win-win situation for everyone
Though one would expect global industry leaders like Amazon to not encounter any problem when entering a new market, relevant know-how of the local dynamics and competition must always be taken into account. BSNL, other than being the state-owned telco in India, is also one of the key players in the country’s market, with a pool of over 110 million members to rely on. If and when the interests of such companies overlap, they have the possibility to team up to offer integrated services to their customers.
Amazon, one among Fortumo’s most notable clients, expressed the intention to expand to India with its Prime service of Video on Demand (VOD). BSNL, capturing its customers’ interest with offers related to shopping and entertainment, can then provide Amazon with an initial number of potential clients in India. A Tefficient report from 2018 shows how the country has witnessed a 303% increase in mobile data consumption in 2017 – clear sign of a skyrocketing mobile industry. The potential for cooperation between an offer of one kind, and an offer of another, was just out there. Fortumo answered the call, providing a solution to the demand for a smooth integration of telco and entertainment services. Trident Bundling Platform connects Amazon Prime and BSNL, allowing the companies to gain access to a new market for the first, and to add value to its offerings for the latter.
How does it work?
We spoke to Andrei Dementjev, COO at Fortumo, to understand what the cooperation entails. “What has proven to work well in these cases is to partner with a local company willing to share clients with the service provider. Nowadays everyone has a mobile phone. Every potential new streaming service user is already a client of a local mobile operator. Amazon, at this point, joins forces with a local telco and agrees on special offering. Let’s say that all telco users can subscribe to Amazon Prime Video and enjoy it for free for 6 months. The local telco promotes the offer among its clients through various channels, and in this way quickly acquires a lot of new users for the digital service provider,” Dementjev explains.
Fortumo’s bundling platform deals with the whole phase of technical set-up of the partnership. How users will be able to activate the offer, how to check for user’s eligibility, how to manage subscriptions. A process that would eventually take one or two years to be completed, in this way can become operative in about two or three months.
With Trident, Fortumo is taking care of connecting providers and telco based on the features of local contexts and market needs. Moreover, the Estonian company is also providing the technical know-how and the platform to proceed with the integration of services fast and efficiently. “We’re acting as a technical enabler and project facilitator between providers and telcos,” Dementjev says. In this case, with Amazon as main partner from one side, the next step was just to find a good ally in the market of reference to get started with.
Fun times ahead
With over 350 partner companies in telecommunications worldwide, people at Fortumo know what kind of trends are taking place in the market. “With the progressive decrease in average revenue per user for telcos, these companies are mostly becoming data providers. At the same time, however, they have to invest millions in preserving and updating infrastructures. Reselling digital services, which customers use anyway, allows them to get back into the value chain,” Dementjev highlights. And since data is the main product that telecommunication companies are selling today, it makes sense to integrate such service with others.
For providers like Spotify, Amazon, or Google, partnerships like those enabled by Fortumo suit well with needs of market expansion. Expertise, knowledge, and technical solutions easy to implement play a key role in establishing the premises for growth. With huge potential markets in the Middle and Far East opening to digital service providers, companies need to find the best way to create valuable cooperation with ideal partners. Fortumo, aware of the importance of networks (in every way), has proven to be the missing link to revenue growth and user acquisition.