Dutch operator KPN has reached an agreement with Apple on carrier billing. Under it, KPN’s customers can pay for apps and other content from the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and iBooks through their mobile phone bills, without using a credit card. Billing through the service cannot exceed €20.00 (US $23.57) per transaction and €150.00 (US $176.77) per month. The customer can select the carrier billing method at the time of check-out on an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Apple TV, by using his or her Apple ID.
Carrier billing, a well-established process used by mobile operators globally, bestows several advantages. For customers, it provides a seamless, easy way to make purchases of apps and, through them, a wide variety of digital content. For operators, it has proved a reliable way to encourage subscribers to consume more data, given that many apps, especially in the entertainment sphere, require large amounts of high-speed data in order to function or function optimally. It also fosters a mentality of remaining within the operator’s ecosystem, which ultimately boosts retention and strengthens brand loyalty.
In this case, we should also note that carrier billing allows KPN subscribers to avoid using their credit cards to make purchases from Apple. While payment through a phone bill rather than with other forms of payment may be especially attractive in developing economies, in a developed market like that of the Netherlands, it may instead have the appeal of avoiding excessive exposure of customers’ personal financial information.
Apple, as one of the two major gateways of apps, along with Google Play, is of course a brand that has very wide appeal. Since KPN competitors Vodafone and T-Mobile Netherlands have not yet adopted Apple carrier billing, this partnership places KPN in an advantageous position, for the present time.