Jon Russell, TechCrunch:
Carrier billing is an important option for users who either don’t own a credit card or don’t want to tie their plastic to their Apple account. It’s particularly strategic in emerging markets, where credit card ownership is very low. Google, for example, added carrier billing in India this summer, opening the potential for millions Android phone owners to buy mobile content for the first time.
I didn’t know carrier billing came to Android phones in India. The idea seems intuitive though — buy a $1 app and have the dollar billed against your phone-bill.
I recently saw a shop openning under my house that primarily deals in mobile repairs and — specifically — mobile recharges (for pre-paid SIM cards). I thought to myself, ’Why does the owner think this is a viable business in a day when such recharges are done on-line?’. On second thought, I realised, ‘This guy knows more about this line of business than I do. If he didn’t think there were customers that would still like to have their pre-paid balance recharged the old-fashioned way (the shopkeeper asks you to enter your phone number into their phone and you tell them the amount you want recharged1), he wouldn’t have opened the shop.’
In considering Apple’s chances of bringing carrier billing to India, the question arises: Is there enough to be gained in sales of online goods to justify the extra work (especially considering India doesn’t have an actual iBooks Store, the iTunes’ movies collection is crippled and TV Shows just aren’t available)?
- Sounds eerie as I type it; the irony isn’t unnoticed. ↩︎