Apple Finally Starts Supporting Carrier Billing For App Store And iTunes …

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Enables Carrier Billing, Begins With O2 In Germany.

iTunes costs have previously only been payable using credit or debit cards linked to customers’ accounts, but German O2 customers have spotted a carrier billing option on iTunes billing pages as reported by TechCrunch, suggesting the company may be poised to roll it out across Europe.Apple hasn’t responded for comment on the new feature and hasn’t made a public announcement about whether it’ll roll out wider in the future, but it’s the first time the company has shown an interest in carrier billing, signaling a potential future rollout in further countries.

If you want to purchase apps via the iTunes App Store, the only way to do so is either by redeeming an iTunes gift card and adding that credit to your account, have someone gift you an app, or add your credit/debit card onto file and have your purchases charged automatically. The option has been appearing for O2 subscribers in Germany, according to TechCrunch, and O2 says that it will be available to all prepaid and postpaid customers in Germany by the beginning of next month. Google has offered for its Play Store purchases for some time, which is available across more than 30 countries, though only on Three, T-Mobile and O2 in the UK. Apple declined to comment on whether carrier billing will be rolled out to other carriers and regions, but this is still the first sign that Apple will consider it at all. Up until today, Apple hasn’t offered carrier billing as an option, despite it being broadly available on Android phones and a common payment method in markets where credit cards have less of a presence.

Subsequent purchases from Apple Music, iTunes, the App Store and iBooks are then charged directly to your phone bill, or debited from a prepaid amount that a you have added to the phone if you are not on a contract. This seems to suggest that Apple is now starting to open up its doors to support a wider set of users, some of whom might not have access to credit/debit cards but would like a more convenient way of purchasing apps. Though we don’t know where Apple will expand carrier billing to next – or even if it will expand carrier billing – the payment method could certainly become much more widespread. While that benefits Apple because it means more people can buy from its stores, there’s a solid chance that O2 is taking a cut of those purchases — and that’s probably why Apple has been reluctant to add carrier billing before now. Another source says that it’s not Bango working on this deal, pointing out that O2 also has a relationship with Boku, another carrier billing provider that O2 has backed financially.

Google currently offers carrier billing in over 30 countries, including the US, where it’s available through AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular. Carrier billing may not seem like a big deal to a lot of iPhone users in mature economies, where payment card and bank account penetration are both very high.

But in emerging economies, where card use is far lower and many consumers might not even have bank accounts, a phone can essentially serve as a proxy for both: mobile users can top up their phones with cash at shops, and those phones can then, by way of carrier billing, be used to pay for goods purchased on those devices, usually under a certain limit. For Apple, it could mean that it’s looking for ways of making its services much more accessible to users in those emerging markets and among a wider pool of users in developed countries — targeting demographics where the iPhone and Apple have proven to be known brands but not nearly as widely used as Android smartphones.

Operators have traditionally seen themselves as “owners” of the billing relationship with mobile users, and all the rich data and upselling opportunities that come along with it.

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