Windows Phone’s carrier billing feature is now officially supported by Verizon today, and it’s also expanding to some major international markets. Carrier billing allows you to make purchases through the Windows Phone App Store and place those charges on your monthly wireless bill, instead of paying for them directly at the time of purchase with a credit or debit card.
This is particularly key for Microsoft and its developer partners in international markets. The company cited a stat from The World Bank that suggests 93 percent of the emerging market population doesn’t have access to a credit card, and therefore, didn’t previously have an option to pay for apps in the Windows Phone app store.
The new international partners include China Mobile in China, Claro in Brazil and Idea in India, and Microsoft noted that more than 60 percent of “all paid Windows Phone transactions” are now made through this carrier billing process. 81 carriers in 46 markets around the globe support carrier billing now, and the addition of Verizon officially fills out support for Windows Phone carrier billing on all four major U.S. carriers.
Microsoft expects that this strategy will help it continue to increase its presence in emerging smartphone markets. “The prospects for Windows Phone are strong in part because Microsoft understands where the next 5 billion smartphone customers will come from,” Microsoft Windows Store and developer marketing general manager Todd Brix said. “We’re delivering rich experiences across a diverse global product portfolio that is backed by a Store that combines flexible monetization choices for developers with simple payment options for consumers.”
Given the huge number of customers who, as The World Bank suggests, don’t have access to credit cards, we suspect Microsoft will do everything it can to continue to push carrier billing into new markets.