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Idea, Microsoft offer carrier billing for Windows Phone Store

22 December 2014

Microsoft has tied up with Idea Cellular to offer billing facility to subscribers of the telecom operator on the Windows Phone Store, NDTV reported. Subscribers would not need credit cards or other electronic payment options to purchase paid content.

Making the announcement on Thursday, Microsoft further revealed it had tied up with operator China Mobile in China, Claro in Brazil, and Verizon Wireless in the US to rollout carrier billing for Windows Phone customers on those networks. According to Microsoft, it had now established similar deals with 81 carriers in 46 markets.

With the facility, Idea subscribers using Windows Phone handsets would be able to purchase paid apps and other content from Microsoft's Windows Phone Store, and have the charges billed to them on postpaid plans or deducted from their balance on prepaid plans.

Microsoft's partnership with Idea, India's third-largest telecom operator, would be useful to Windows Phone users on the network - especially those that either did not have a credit card or for some reason did not want to associate it with the app and content store.

This was not the first instance of app store carrier being offered by a telecom operator in India as Nokia has tied up with Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance to offer the subscribers the facility for the Nokia Store.

The Microsoft Idea Cellular partnership would allow users of Windows Phones to make app or game purchases using carrier billing, India Today reported. This would make online purchases much simpler and quicker. Similar partnerships in the recent past had failed to make it into the mainstream. One of the main reasons for this was possibly relatively less credit card usage.

Carrier billing is the process by which purchases are made by deducting balance from prepaid accounts, or added to postpaid accounts as opposed to the usual system of having to enter debit or credit card details, a process that was often considered cumbersome by most. This move would only apply to purchases made in the Windows Phone Store.

Similar partnerships had also been made by Microsoft in other countries, like China, Brazil, and the US.  It was speculated that revenue sharing would be 70 per cent for the app developer and the remaining 30 per cent will be split between Microsoft and Idea Cellular.

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