Pakistan’s second-largest operator Telenor launched direct carrier billing and talked up the service’s prospects in a country where less than 1.5 million people have credit cards.

Carrier billing enables users to pay for digital goods by charging the purchase directly to their phone bill, or deducting it from their prepaid account.

The system was supplied to Telenor, which has over 35 million connections in Pakistan (GSMA Intelligence, Q1 2014), by Fortumo.

There are a total of over 138 million mobile connections in Pakistan – vastly more than the penetration of credit cards.

Carrier billing is an alternative to using credit cards in app stores such as Google Play. And much of Telenor’s base is made up of young users with an appetite for apps and games.

The deployment follows a framework agreement struck earlier this year between Telenor and Fortumo which covers 12 countries in Europe and Asia.