Google has finally brought Carrier Billing to the UK. The mobile operator, Vodafone now supports the service which allows items to be purchased from the Android Market using mobile credit or through a monthly bill for contract customers.
The Carrier Billing service was introduced in the US in 2010 and later in Japan in 2011. The UK has now joined the team and with such hot competition in the mobile market, the desire for a service like this will surely rise.
It is very convenient to pay via a carrier as it saves you setting up a credit or debit card directly with Google. But that is all you have to do; enter your details. While I can understand the usefulness for pay-and-go customers, I do not believe the service is as appropriate for contract customers. After all, would it not be the same credit card you use to pay your mobile bill as the one you would use in the Market?
There are some limits to Carrier Billing. You cannot purchase applications priced at £30 or more and you can only spend a total of £250 per month. These limitations are put in place to stop rogue applications or malware draining your account.
Google has announced that the service is available on Vodafone, however it will take time for it to roll out across the country.
Vodafone UK is the first mobile operator in Europe to enable Carrier Billing on their Android phones but their German sister has already disclosed its plans to get in on the deal. Android is becoming an increasingly large part of the smartphone market- which itself is growing rapidly- in the UK and with more than 550,000 global activations daily, it is growing at an immense pace. I am positive more operators will attempt to deal with Google in the near future.