Last year Softbank in Japan made it possible for a subscriber to pay for a digital iTunes voucher on their phone bill. This meant that a customer could buy the voucher from Softbank and charge it to their bill. The purchase happens through the operator sales channels, not the iTunes store, where your preloaded payment card is still used to pay for everything.
In the UK, O2 is also now offering carrier billing as a payment method for digital iTunes cards. We expect that carrier billing will be a successful addition, extending the reach of digital cards to customers who cannot easily pay through other methods. It should encourage Apple to take the big step and integrate carrier billing directly into the iTunes store. The evidence from all other content ecosystems is that when carrier billing is embedded into the store experience on the smartphone itself, it yields a big uplift in content sales.
Google has been particularly successful in boosting sales from Google Play and now has over 40 carriers offering DCB. As we announced recently, Amazon has also now taken the big step, offering carrier billing in its app store to customers in Germany for the first time.
All of these cases are strongly supportive of carrier billing, underlining again that it is a versatile and truly global payment method for the digital age.