Google has explored carrier billing in the past for India, but nothing ever materialized. To purchase apps from Playstore, you conventionally need a credit card (or selective debit cards), but since credit card penetration in India is low (around 3 percent) – and even that sounds like an understatement – Google has been trying alternate methods like Google Play Store vouchers.

From now onwards, Idea cellular subscribers can purchase Android Apps from Google Play and pay via cellular credit. This is applicable for both pre-paid and post-paid subscribers. Just buy the app or select the in-app purchase and pay with ‘bill my Idea’ option. Google Play store’s refund policy will apply to every purchase.

carrier billing in India

There is some subtext to this deal which you should know. You are only allowed to spend 300 INR per transaction, including 16 percent convenience fee payable to Idea over the price of every Play Store purchase. When you connect your Play Store account with Idea Cellular for the first time, you will need to use your data connection and not WiFi.

Idea Cellular earlier Inked a similar deal with Microsoft in India. Microsoft practiced the same strategy in 46 different markets and claimed an 8x increase in revenue in emerging countries like India. If carrier billing catches momentum in India, it could be the highest revenue source for developers as it would make for the most convenient way young population could use to reward developers for their hard work.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. 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.”

Talking about the launch, Mike Hayes, Director, Business Development, Android & Chrome Partnerships at Google said, “This collaboration with Idea Cellular is the first time Google Play has offered direct carrier billing in India. Like with lower minimal pricing for apps and pre-paid vouchers, we hope to make it easier for people to pay for the content they want on Google Play. And we also hope that this will give a boost to the developer ecosystem in India, helping developers to grow their businesses on Google Play and connecting to Indian customers.”

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