Microsoft partners with Idea to provide operator billing for Windows Store

NYC(AFP): The company is in discussions with other operators as well for similar partnerships.Microsoft and Idea Cellular have partnered to enable users to purchase application and games from the Windows Store through operator billing.

The Windows Store currently offers over 550,000 apps and has seen over 8 billion cumulative downloads to date globally.

This is expected to simplify mobile phone application purchase by eliminating the need to use credit cards or other electronic payment options for paid content.

“The smartphone market in India is poised to grow over 70 per cent this fiscal and the app ecosystem is also booming. We are seeing a steady increase in paid app download. However, multiple factors, including low credit card penetration, is hindering payments,” Nokia India Sales (a Microsoft Mobile Oy subsidiary) Director Operator Relations Nikhil Mathur told reporters.

India is estimated to have about 19 million credit card users.

With the operator billing facility, Idea subscribers using Windows Phone handsets will be able to have the charges for purchases from the store billed to them on postpaid plans or deducted from their balance on prepaid plans. The maximum purchase that can be made currently is Rs 300 per app.

“Idea Cellular is become the first operator in India to offer integrated operator billing on the Windows Store. This development eases a consumer’s access to premium apps on Windows Store through a convenient purchase process. We have set the maximum threshold right now at Rs 300 keeping in mind the safety of the consumer, also most apps are covered in that price range.”

The Windows Store currently offers over 550,000 apps and has seen over 8 billion cumulative downloads to date globally. Idea Cellular has 147.95 million subscribers as on November 2014 according to telecom regulator TRAI, of which about 34 million are data users.

Mr. Mathur said the company is in discussions with other operators as well for similar partnerships.

Globally, Microsoft offers 81 mobile operator billing connections in 46 markets with carriers representing 2.5 billion total subscribers.