In a move that will improve convenience for Sprint subscribers, Google (News - Alert) has announced that mobile phone customers of the carrier will now be able to pay for the apps they buy in the Android Market via their monthly cellphone bill, the Google Android (News - Alert) Developers blog said yesterday. A phased roll-out of the service has begun, and will reach all users in the next few days, according to the blog.
“We believe that Direct Carrier Billing is a key payment option because it lets users purchase and pay for apps more easily. It’s also important because it offers a convenient way to buy in regions where credit cards are less common,” said Google.
This is the second time in is less than a month that Google and Sprint (News - Alert) have made a joint announcement. In March, Sprint said that Google Voice will become available "on all Sprint CDMA phones” and installed as an application on the Nexus S 4G smartphone. The Voice service offers features such as using one number for all phones and international calls at low rates, writes PC World this morning.
Sprint subscribers aren't the only ones who can use carrier billing. Since last year, Google has been working to expand the payment method to more Android Market users on more carrier networks, the blog post said. Already, T-Mobile (News - Alert) US and AT&T subscribers don't have to use a credit card to pay for applications on Google's application store. Recently, users on three networks in Japan – SoftBank, KDDI, and NTT (News - Alert) DoCoMo – have also been added to the list.
The lack of more ways to pay for applications on Android Market has been a thorn in the side of both consumers and developers, says PC World. It was in Google's best interest to improve the buying experience for users, and add more payment methods, especially for worldwide use, said developer Eric Wijngaard, who created photo editor PicSay, to PC World.
Google is reportedly working to appease both camps. The company will continue to partner with more carriers around the world to offer carrier billing options to their subscribers, and more announcements are coming in the months ahead, it said.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves