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Rovio enters into carrier billing deal with Idea

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Rovio Entertainment Limited,  maker of Angry Birds game, has entered into a carrier billing deal with Idea Cellular , reports ET Tech. The tie-up will also allow users to make in-game purchases through Idea prepaid balance or post paid account.

Note that Idea will have a co-branded portal, which will have in-built mechanism for charging from the users balance. The company will to enable in-app purchases for both Angry Birds Classic as well as Angry Birds 2.0, although it seems like only games downloaded through its portal will be able to  use carrier billing, while those downloading via Google Play will have to use more traditional methods like card payments. 

Rovio plans to expand its base in the country. Talks are already in progress with other Indian industries such as apparel, gaming, toy and merchandise to market and produce products under the Angry Birds brand name. As a free game, Angry Birds enjoys 7-8 million active users in India. The company also has sachet pricing in India. Rovio plans to adapt its games for the Indian market, like it did with China.

It is also worth noting that in December last year, Microsoft enabled carrier billing on Windows Store in India with Idea Cellular, allowing Idea subscribers buy Windows phone apps through this payment option.

Benefits of Carrier Billing:

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– By separating billing for content and commerce services from access (voice and non-voice) services, you would end up giving the customer a single content/service price across multiple payment options and (hopefully) ensure that the revenue earned by the merchant post transaction remains the same, across platforms. This will encourage more content and service providers to look at mobile as an option.

– By separating the cost of access from cost of service/content, you can ensure that the access service provider gets paid a standard amount for the access service (as per a fixed-line-broadband or a pay-per-use-3G-data plan), and the content owner/service provider gets paid separately for the service/content. This leads to a separation and independence of the services business from the access business even for telecom operators.

– Allow customers to pay for services according to multiple billing options also allows for increased competition in billing, instead of the mini-monopoly /cartel situation that currently exists on mobile, where primarily telecom operator billing exists. Separating billing from access may allow a customer to access a service on mobile, but pay using (for example) a credit card, an independent cash card or fixed-line telephone bill.


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