Google plays well with direct operator billing

When you hear the name Google, many things come to mind. It could be the ubiquitous search engine, Android mobile phones, cloud applications and services or even that less-than-stellar movie The Internship. And now you can add direct operator billing to the list of terms associated with the behemoth tech company. Yes, Google is making it a point to sign up operators en masse and pass along the many benefits of this billing model to customers.

Why you ask? Could it be out of the kindness of Google’s heart? What’s more likely is with the holidays upon us and people giving and receiving mobile phones as gifts – or just taking advantage of special offers for themselves – the influx of new devices on the market behooves Google to make it as easy as possible for consumers to buy content from the Google Play store.

To that end, the company has partnered with everyone from all the major U.S. mobile operators, including Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as major carriers in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Norway, Singapore, Spain and the UK, to support direct operator billing from the Google Play app.

Recently, Google has added a number of carriers in Asia including Indonesia’s Indosat and Globe Telecom in the Philippines and is rumored to be in talks with Bharti Airtel in India. The difference between those countries and the others on Google’s direct operator billing list is the relatively large percentage of the population who don’t use traditional banks or credit cards. For customers in those areas, direct operator billing gives them the opportunity to purchase music, apps, e-books, movies and other digital content in a win-win-win that also provides the operator with revenue and Google a piece of the action.

Operators can give the option of paying for Google Play purchases through either prepaid or postpaid plans, which should cover most customers. Additionally, customers in certain countries that mostly fall under the heading of developed nations can purchase prepaid Google Play cards, which may rival iTunes gift cards as popular stocking stuffers this holiday season.

As we’ve already mentioned here at BillingViews, mobile payments have branched out in ways few would have imagined just a few years ago. Giving several options for digital content payment will help operators cast a wider net for subscribers and help instil loyalty among those who choose to play along.

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Anita Karve
About Anita Karve 37 Articles
Anita is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience covering just about everything in the technology space with a focus on computer networking and telecommunications. She was managing editor of Billing & OSS World magazine and technology editor at Network magazine and most recently was in charge of newsletter coverage at TM Forum.

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