wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Updated: Google Play Store launches carrier billing with Airtel & Vodafone; Wallets?

Update: Google has confirmed to MediaNama that this carrier billing integration is only for postpaid services, and not for prepaid. Thanks for flagging this Prasanto.

Yesterday: It has been a long time coming, but Google has finally launched carrier billing with Airtel and Vodafone, two of India’s largest telecom operators. This is in additional to Idea Cellular, which means that Google Play carrier billing will be available to 186.26 million Internet connections among these three. Add Reliance Jio to this mix – it isn’t there – and you have approximately 240 million connections that now have an option to pay for online content with their mobile balance or bill.

The Airtel integration (we tried) is buggy: while the option of carrier billing is available to users, Google Play isn’t able to verify user telecom operator accounts to initiate and authenticate the payment…the irony of a telecom operator not being able to initiate a confirmation SMS. It’s not clear as to how the revenue share relationship between the two carriers and the Play Store works, but there is a detailed overview of the Idea Cellular – Google Play Store relationship here.

MediaNama’s take

1. Better late than never: It’s shameful that it has taken the telecom industry this long to enable this: they have been, unfortunately, blind-sided by the ambition of being content providers, and competing with the open Internet, which we’ve seen in Jio’s launch of apps and services, and Airtel’s attempt at music and video services. The only competitive advantage for them in this is a violation of Net Neutrality, which is enabled by a vertical integration. While they are no longer able to charge differentially for their own services versus others, there is a possibility that they may try to exploit the CECN loophole (explained here), or the newly created databack loophole (explained here). Anyway, it’s worth keeping in mind that discussions for carrier billing between Google and Airtel started as far back as 2012.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

2. No wallet integration: The ease of making a payment was why it was essential for Google Play to sign up with telecom operators in 2012: not everyone has a credit card, most people use debit cards only for ATM withdrawals, and the second factor of authentication adds friction while completing the payment. It’s surprising that given the growth in the wallets business over the last three years – especially in the last year – Google Play Store still hasn’t tied up with any wallet company. Wallet companies have millions of users too. We wonder if Google still harbors hope of launching Android Pay in India, and this is a competitive move from them.

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.

Views

News

The US and other countries' retreat from a laissez-faire approach to regulating markets presents India with a rare opportunity.

News

When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

You May Also Like

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ