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On making Carrier Billing independent of Carriers in India

Google is apparently in talks with Bharti Airtel to allow purchase of goods and services from the Google Play store using carrier billing, reports The Economic Times. This is not surprising, but this is also not new. Back in 2012, K Srinivas, President (B2C) for Airtel, had told MediaNama that the company, which had partnered with what was then called Nokia, for what was then called the Ovi Store, was "...talking to Android, and whenever Apple wants to come around…" Talks, it would appear, have progressed at the speed of a stationary Formula 1 car. Srinivas was clear then that Airtel was more open to partnering with app stores than opening up its API to individual developers to integrate with. Airtel's stance on carrier billing might have changed since, especially since the relationship between Google and Airtel appears to have become stronger. Airtel, the most charitable among telecom operators, recently offered Google's Android One customers "100 MB of data per month for 6 months for software updates and 200 MB per month for 6 months for app downloads and updates on the first prepaid active Airtel SIM inserted in the Android One device." Airtel's Wynk app/service has carrier billing integrated for in-app purchases, even though Play store guidelines prohibit third party billing. But things change. In December last year, Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal had said the company would open up location and billing API in 3-5 months, in an "entrepreneur friendly way". In the meantime, India has seen a number of carrier billing operators…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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