How to Collaborate with Telecom and Monetize Your App Effectively

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The mobile app market is increasing day by day.  No matter your app is a game, network based solution or content intensive one, one of the major challenges startups and newly developed apps face is the monetization streams. The internet is full of tutorials and methods guiding about app monetization, one of the avenue is when there is a collaboration between major telecom player and app start up.

Why is this important for you to collaborate with a major telecom? Simply:

  1. The telecom branded app can create much bigger marketing shout
  2. The marketing expense of the app will be much lesser as telecom will promote it
  3. The telecom data is very sophisticated, your app can get targeted promotions in no time. It takes a lot of effort to find the right demographics, psychographics and geographic for an app. With telecom’s BI ( Business Intelligence) , this information is a piece of cake
  4. There are many ways an app can be promoted (other than the conventional methods). The app can be promoted over SMS, IVR, OBD (Out Bound Dial), Top Ups, Balance Inquiry, EOCN (End of Call Notifications) etc.

There are a few cons as well:

  1. The app brands as telco’s product, you lose the recognition
  2. Most of the times when a company collaborates with a telecom, the revenue share is always tilted heavily towards telecom
  3. The promotions can only be done as per telco’s schedule.
  4. Sometimes the time to market is not reached due to unnecessary documentation

Let’s move forward. So how does it all start? The very step for you is to register yourself as a vendor/partner with telecom. Now there are 2 ways

  1. The idea is coming from you and you approach telecom
  2. The telecom floats RFP ( Request for Proposal)

In any of the above cases, let’s take an example of content based app. Here is the step by step guide:

Telco Brand Guidelines

The very first step is to make your app design in accordance with telco’s brand guidelines.

Availability of Copyrighted Content

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Make sure the entire content is copyrighted. (Channels, VOD, Games etc.). If the content is not copyrighted, the entire effort of collaboration is a waste.


The most important part is charging of the application. There could be 3 ways:

  1. Subscription via short code
  2. Subscription via app
  3. Subscription via WAP


1- Subscription via Short Code

Users can subscribe your app by sending a keyword to a short code and will be charged via charging protocol of IN (Intelligent Network) such as MML and UCIP. Customers will be sent a confirmation message of subscription along with App link. Users then will download the app but since they have already paid subscription through short code, they will not be asked for subscription rather they just have to put their MSISDN in given field for the first time and access will be given to them.

User sends Keyword to SC> Balance Check > Sufficient Balance> User Charged via MML> Subscription Confirmation Message and App Link>User Downloads App>Install App> Enter MSISDN> Enter Pin No> Enters into APP Content

User sends Keyword to SC> Balance Check > Insufficient Balance> Sorry Message is Returned to customer

2- Subscription via App

Users can download the app from Google Play store, before going into App; there will be a subscription check. Customers will put their MSISDN in the given field, they will be charged and then will be returned with a confirmation message and pin no.

User Download App> Install App>Subscription Check > Sufficient Balance> Enter MSISDN > Enter Pin No> Confirmation Message> Enters App Content

User Download App> Install App>Subscription Check > Insufficient Balance> Sorry Message

After subscribing the customers into App, they can use it on data and Wi-Fi. The auto renewal of the service will be communicated to customers and their service will be on daily recursive (if that is agreed)

3- Subscription via WAP

Users can access the WAP from the link pushed to them. Before they can use the service, there will be a subscription check. Customers will put their MSISDN in the given field and will be returned with a pin number which when the user puts in will be verified by a confirmation message. Then the user will be charged.

Case 1: (MSISDN Known in header)

(User) Access WAP > (User) Enter Pin No > (Server) Subscription Check > (Server) Send Confirmation Message (if charging required) > (User) Enters to the WAP Content

Case 2: (MSISDN Unknown in header)

(User) Access WAP > (User) Enter MSISDN > (Server) Send PIN > (User) Enter PIN > (Server) Send Confirmation Message (if charging required) > (User) Enters to the WAP Content

Telco IPs to Be Configured

In order to restrict customers from using other networks data, partner Telco’s IPs are configured. Any other IP is blocked. There could be a revenue model where Telco applies no subscription charges if its data is used and for other data networks the subscription applies. In any case, configuring IPs is a must.

 How a Telco Charges On The Basis Of Data

Telecoms assigns RGs (Rating Group) to the content IDs. For example if you want your app to be downloaded for free, the rating group will be defined at Zero (0) charging and if you want your different content pieces to be charged (such as live stream, VOD, radio stream) all these contents will be assigned a different RG value.


The app counts (subscription hits) are reconciled with Telco. In case of data charging the RG hits are reconciled and invoiced to telecom.

Revenue Potential

With right promotional slots, an App could make anywhere between $5000 to $10,000.


About the Author

Daniel at Techbyday is a passionate blogger. He studied “Business”and proceeded to work in a fast, upscale environment. He believes customers’ experience and delight should be the number 1 preference of any industry, Techbyday is an attempt to achieve this mission.

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