Indian mobile network operator Idea cellular has offered a significant breakthrough for Google in India as the telecom operator announced its carrier billing services for the customers so that they can pay for apps and content on the Google Play Store.
The telecom operator users both prepaid and postpaid will be able to buy apps through direct carrier billing. This move could help boost app/in-app purchases.
Speaking on the occasion, P. Lakshminarayana, Chief Operating Officer – Corporate, Idea Cellular, said: “Idea has been at the forefront of the internet revolution and has built a robust network through an extensive 3G and now 4G rollout. With capabilities to provide wireless broadband services to nearly 880 million Indians, Idea is well poised to take the lead in the way content is served to an increasing army of digital savvy users.”
“This tie up with Google Play creates a vast set of opportunities for Idea subscribers and also builds a secure gateway to the digital world,” added Lakshminarayana.
Carrier billing allows the users to pay for digital content (like apps from the Google Play Store) via their telecom operator: in the case of prepaid users, which is over 95 percent of India’s mobile connection base of over a billion, the amount is deducted from their remaining balance. For postpaid users, the amount is added to their bill at the end of the month.
This is Idea Cellular’s second such deal. Earlier, it enabled carrier billing on Windows Store in India as far back as December 2014, but the deal was probably not of much consequence since India is largely an Android market.
At the launch, Google also revealed that there will be a convenience charge on purchases. The charge will be approximately Rs. 1.50 on a Rs. 10 purchase. It also confirmed that carrier billing can be used for in-app purchases and for all Google services not just apps on Google Play, but also books, movies etc.
Idea offers direct carrier billing for Google play store