Microsoft has enabled carrier billing on Windows Store in India with Idea Cellular, allowing Idea subscribers buy Windows phone apps through this payment option.
This rollout has been in the works for quite some time now. Vineet Durani, Director- Windows Phone Business Group had told in May that they will be launching operator billing for Windows Store in a few months. Durani had earlier told Medianama that the company was in talks to introduce operator billing in India, since a very small fraction of Windows Phone users have added a credit card to their account.
With this launch, the company now claims to be the first smartphone platform to enable carrier billing for app purchases in the country. Note that Nokia Store (now owned by Microsoft) had rolled out carrier billing for telcos like Airtel & Vodafone in May 2012 and Reliance Communications in February 2011. Last month, Microsoft however said that it will be shutting down Nokia Store in the first half of 2015, and migrating users to Opera Store.
Developers to receive 70% of revenues
From the looks of it, Microsoft has managed to continue offering 70% of revenues to app developers. We’ve written to Microsoft for a confirmation and will update once we hear back.
Durani had earlier mentioned that one of the major issues with carrier billing was the revenue share demanded by the telcos. He wanted the revenue split to be done in such a way that the developers will not be affected at all. They had proposed that the telcos give 70% to the developers and take their cut from the remaining 30%, a significant jump from third party operator billing providers like Fortumo* that provides payouts of up to 50% to merchants.
If Microsoft has indeed managed to offer 70% of revenues to developers, we are curious on how this would impact the business of players like Fortumo, Boku and Neomobile in the country.
What about Google & Apple?
Hopefully, this rollout also paves the way for Google and Apple to roll out operator billing on their respective app stores. Google has apparently been in talks with Airtel for operator billing for couple of years now and had even tied-up with Reliance Communications, way back in 2012 and Uninor in 2011 for operator billing but nothing has materialized until now.
Operator billing is critical in an emerging market like India, since the credit card penetration is still quite low in the country and consumers don’t have that many payment options to purchase apps or services. (Also read: Why India’s Carrier Billing Platform Market Is Heating Up).
*Disclosure: Fortumo is an advertiser with Medianama