Indonesia’s Indosat has introduced Google Play carrier billing that allows customers to purchase apps using prepaid airtime credit.
Indosat, owned by Ooredoo, said it’s the first operator in the country to offer direct carrier billing to subscribers.
CEO and president director Alexander Rusli said the deal gives customers the convenience to purchase applications, content, games and books through their mobile device without the need to use credit or debit cards.
Only 40 per cent of the country’s population has a bank account, and even fewer have access to a debit or credit card, so carrier billing opens up the digital marketplace to a much larger number of Indonesians.
The operator, with 54 million connections, is the country’s third largest mobile player with an 18 per cent market share.
Google now has carrier billing arrangements with 12 operators is Asia, but the Indosat tie-up is its first in a developing market and would likely have a much bigger impact than in markets like Singapore, Japan and South Korea, where people have many payment options.
Google reportedly was discussing carrier billing with India’s largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel, in September. The companies haven’t announced if a deal was finalised.