Google And Idea Cellular Team Up To Offer Direct Carrier Billing On Play Store Purchases In India

Google and Idea Cellular, India's third largest telecom company, have teamed up to provide a new carrier billing system to subscribers for an easier and cheaper way to purchase digital content.

Whether they are using prepaid or postpaid services, users can now pay by simply choosing the Idea billing option to confirm a purchase when they buy applications, content and in-app products on Google Play using their Android devices.

P. Lakshminarayana, Idea Cellular's chief operating officer, said the new partnership will allow the carrier's subscribers to take advantage of using a secure payment option with the system's two-click purchase feature. He added that the new system will allow customers to gain access to millions of apps now available in the Play Store.

"You won't need any additional software or a credit card," says Kunal Soni, Head of Business Development for Google Play, India and Southeast Asia, in a blog post. "When you make a purchase, just choose 'bill my Idea Cellular Account' on the prompt in the store. Google Play keeps your account information safe, so this is a new, secure way to buy digital content with your phone."

Soni added that postpaid plan users can track their purchases, since they will be reflected on their billing statements under the label "Google Play purchases."

The new billing scheme is indeed a game changer for Android users in India who no longer have to worry about not having a credit card or a bank account in making purchases. It's also a big deal for Google, as it now sees India as one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. While the number of users reaches up to 20 percent growth a year, there are only around 2 percent of residents who have payment cards.

Mike Hayes, director of business development, Android and Chrome Partnerships at Google, said that the collaboration brings for the first time a direct carrier billing option for Google Play users in India. Apart from offering minimal pricing on available apps and content, the move also hopes to boost the developer ecosystem in India, allowing developers new ways to enhance their businesses on Google Play while building stronger connections with mobile users in India.

Google plans to have additional talks with other local carriers in the country to bring the new carrier billing system to more users.

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