GSM operator Idea Cellular has entered into a partnership with Microsoft Corp. to provide operator billing on the Windows Store for its users, making it the first operator in India to offer integrated billing.
This partnership enables Idea users on all Microsoft Lumia devices and all Windows-based smartphones across brands to access their favourite applications and games from the Windows Store and pay for them through integrated operator billing.
The amount will be either added to their monthly mobile phone bills or deducted from their pre-paid balance, depending on their data plans, Idea Cellular said in a statement.
This facility will make the consumer's payment experience more seamless and will be a boon for those who do not own credit cards or are uncomfortable using them for online transactions. Further, operator billing helps developers increase revenues, of about 8 times increase every month for total paid transactions in emerging markets and three times in developed markets, it added.
''Microsoft's partnership with Idea Cellular is a big step towards providing Indian consumers easy and simplified access to Windows Store content through operator billing,'' said Nikhil Mathur, Director – B2B and Operator Channels at Nokia India Sales, a subsidiary of Microsoft Mobile Oy.
''With smartphones becoming more affordable, adoption of mobile internet is witnessing an unprecedented growth and we are confident that this partnership will further accelerate growth for the app ecosystem with mobile internet users making a shift towards consuming premium apps and content on their devices,'' he added.
The Windows Store currently offers over 550,000 applications and has a 66 per cent year-on-year growth in the number of titles available with 8 billion cumulative downloads to date.
Globally, it offers 81 mobile operator billing connections in 46 markets with carriers representing 2.5 billion total subscribers.
''This development eases a consumer's access to premium applications on Windows Store through a convenient purchase process,'' said Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer at Idea Cellular.
''Microsoft is constantly working on expanding monetisation options for developers on our platforms and this partnership is another step in that direction. Unlike other parts of the world, credit card penetration in India is very low and this in turn impedes the consumer purchase experience and limits application monetisation,'' said Harish Vaidyanathan, Director-Evangelism at Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd.