Google Play adds direct carrier billing for Play Movies, Music, and Books

May 2, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka

Google Android


Google has allowed Android users to pay for apps through their carriers for some time now, but not until today were they able to do the same for media services. Google has confirmed that it is extending direct carrier billing to enable users to charge Google Play Books, Movies, and Music purchases directly to their monthly bill.

The first carriers to sign-on are T-Mobile in the United States and Docomo, KDDI, and Softbank in Japan. However, the Google+ post announcing this development states that Sprint is coming soon. It then links to a list of carriers that offer direct billing for apps; presumably, those same names will soon enable support for purchasing the multimedia options available in Google Play.

Just as it did with apps, direct carrier billing is seen as a way to simplify the purchase process and have one less hurdle for visitors to Google Play to acquire content. Credit cards and debit card set-ups aren’t readily accessible or trusted by everyone, so allowing customers to tack on their purchases to the same bill that they are guaranteed to pay at the end of the month makes it solves that problem. It helps simplify the issue of payment processing for some users.

I’ve yet to see any public comment from Google regarding carrier billing’s positive effects on app purchases in Google Play, but one has to assume they’ve been positive if Google went through the trouble of extending that support to other media. Here are the carriers that currently support carrier billing for apps; other media forms are likely to follow.

Country Carriers Currency
Germany T-Mobile International, Vodafone EUR
Italy Vodafone EUR
Japan Docomo, KDDI, Softbank JPY
Spain Vodafone EUR
UK T-Mobile International, Vodafone GBP
US AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USD