Android Market close to getting operator-based billing

26 Jul

It seems that Android Market might finally get carrier billing as an option to support paid-for apps. Google has changed a couple of terms and conditions in the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement to provide new payment options to developers. One of the terms (Section 13.1) adds ‘authorised carriers’ as an indemnified party.

Till now, users can only buy paid-for apps from Android Market using Google Checkout, a service that is not available in many countries, including India. Having an option to pay for those apps along with your monthly subscription bill would be the ideal thing.

However, it won’t be easy for Google to implement carrier billing in a country like India, where carriers do not sell phones. Moreover, most carriers have their own application stores where they get as high as 70 per cent of the revenues generated and pass on just 30 per cent to the developer. Hence, they might not have any incentive to provide the billing infrastructure for someone else’s app store and just get 20 per cent of the revenue.

Nokia is a good example of how Indian carriers are averse to becoming just a billing gateway for others in the ecosystem. Nokia enjoys over 50 per cent market share in India and yet, it could not secure a carrier billing partnership with any carrier in the country for its Ovi Store.

Google needs to become a bit more flexible when it comes to paid applications and should enable users to pay for them via credit cards, just like other players in the business. Yes, it won’t bring in as many users as carrier-based billing, yet it would at least ensure that people get an option to buy Android apps rather than having to wait till Google launches Checkout in their country.

Image Courtesy: Android Developers Blog

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  1. Tweets that mention Android Market close to getting operator-based billing -- - July 26, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gaurav Hasabnis, CellPassion. CellPassion said: Android Market close to getting operator-based billing […]

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