Google has rolled out carrier billing option to two of India’s largest telecom operators, making it easier for more Indians to purchase apps, music and other items from marque Google Play Store.
Users on Airtel and Vodafone, two carriers with over 460 million subscribers between them, can now pay for their purchases on Google Play using credit on their mobile phone. The company had told developers about this upcoming change at an event in October.
Carrier billing feature has long been requested by Android users in India. Unlike Western nations, the penetration of debit and credit card is very low in India, stranding many with little choice to make digital purchases.
“This is a big move,” Anuj Tandon, head of mobile games and marketing at game publishing firm Nazara Games told Mashable India after the event. “App and game developers have requested this feature for years. It should help remove the friction in making payments in a market like India.”
Previously, carrier billing was only available to Idea subscribers. The company last year rolled out Google Play prepaid vouchers in the country to make it a little convenient for people to purchase items from Google Play.
With carrier billing (also known as operator billing), a user is able to pay for his or her purchases with the credit on their phone in case of a prepaid connection or it reflects in their monthly bill. This is one of the most convenient payment modes for digital purchases in emerging regions.
Google was also recently testing net banking option in India, with several users already seeing the payment modes on their Android phones. Interestingly, Google Play doesn’t yet support mobile wallet apps, which have grown immensely popular in India in the wake of demonetization.