T-Mobile Netherlands has started supporting carrier billing for purchases on Google Play. Customers who have Android devices can buy apps and other content at the online store and have for their purchases added to their mobile bills instead of paying by credit card. T-Mobile already supports carrier billing on the BlackBerry and Windows app stores.
The m-payments economy worldwide thrives on the integration of mobile-phone billing with other forms of commerce. Allowing customers to use their mobile accounts, whether prepaid or postpaid, for diverse payments has proved a fertile source of revenue for operators and an aid to customer retention. T-Mobile NL’s initiative with Google Play is a simple, straightforward version of the concept, focused on a type of commodity that is directly relevant to mobile devices—mobile apps. This seamless payment method looks like a good move for T-Mobile, since, in addition to any fees that may be charged, it encourages greater use of the smartphone itself and, consequently, greater data consumption. In establishing carrier billing for BlackBerry and Windows apps, T-Mobile may have been testing the waters before launching it in the much larger Android space.