Carrier Billing Coming to Android

Users buying applications on the Android Market store will soon be able to pay for them on their phone bills at the end of every month, rather than paying for them with credit cards.

T-Mobile US Inc. announced this week that it will have the ability to charge to a subscriber's monthly bill as it launches its own custom channel on the Google phone. Previously, users have required a Google Checkout account -- and a credit card -- to buy applications on the store.

Verizon Wireless is working on a similar capability for its first Android phones. Keith Lampron, who works in Verizon's wireless data devices strategy and planning unit, told Unstrung yesterday that the carrier will offer the capability as it develops its V CAST custom channel on the Android phones. (See Verizon's Attack of the 'Droids.)

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is reportedly working on carrier billing for its Android offerings too.

Carrier billing is generally seen as a way to make purchasing applications easier for users. Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s VP of product management, George Linardos, said back in May that app sales jump by 70 percent when operators move from credit card to carrier billing.

The much larger Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone app store, however, has seen great success with charging for applications through a user's iTunes account. Apple's App Store hit 2 billion downloads and now has more than 100,000 apps on hand. The Android Market passed 10,000 applications in September.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

t_newt 12/5/2012 | 3:52:54 PM
re: Carrier Billing Coming to Android

Assuming the COs get a cut of the sales for providing the billing support, this could be a boon to providers and maybe help make up for the loss they'll take when users choose Android applications over the providers' own services for some applications.

In fact they could expand this to include services that would require monthly fees, such as GPS maps and traffic reports, or even movies and music. They wouldn't have to provide the service, they could just provide the billing.

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