Telstra has become the first telco in Australia to allow Android smartphone users to purchase apps from the Google Play Store through their mobile bill.
The carrier announced today that both post-paid and pre-paid customers with an Android smartphone can now purchase content from Google's Play Store by billing purchases, including in-app transactions, of $20 or less to their mobile phone account. Users previously required a credit card to purchase paid apps and content from the store.
"Aussies love their mobile apps," said Freddie Jansen Van Nieuwenhuizen, Telstra's Director of Consumer Applications and Services. "With more than 700,000 games, apps, books, movies and magazines now available on Google Play – including a wide selection of paid titles – many of our customers have told us they would like a simpler way to buy," he said.
"So we've teamed up with Google to allow our customers to place Google Play purchases of up to $20 per transaction on their Telstra mobile bill. We're also making it easier for our pre-paid customers to buy apps by letting them use their main account balance to make Google Play purchases provided they have credit available."
To bill apps to a Telstra mobile phone service, users are required to enter a billing address to be stored in their Google account. Telstra confirmed that a monthly limit of $100 applies for app and content purchases for post-paid customers, though the limit can be increased if requested. The overall limit can be increased to a maximum of $500 per month but has to be done in $100 increments.
Pre-paid customers have a $500 per month content spend limit and will have the funds taken from their main account balance, providing there are sufficient funds available.
To prevent unintended purchases, Telstra customers can set a PIN code in the settings menu of the Google Play Store on their smartphone. Customers who don't wish to charge apps to their bill can turn the service off if they wish by requesting the spend limit be set to $0. This will grey out the 'Bill my Telstra account' option and prevent unauthorised purchases.
As part of the new billing service, Telstra and Google are offering a selected list of apps for half price until Tuesday 18 December. These half-price apps include popular titles like HD Widgets, the Swiftkey 3 keyboard, Endomondo Pro, World of Goo and Sketchbook Mobile.
Will you be paying for your apps via your mobile phone bill? Is this a feature you've been waiting for? Let us know in the comments below!