In an event in New Delhi, Microsoft and Idea Cellular have introduced the operator billing on the Windows Phone Store. As of now, it is specifically available for Idea subscribers and later on it is available for different carrier, said in a press conference. With this announcement, Idea Cellular becomes the first operator in India which offers integrated operator billing on the Windows Phone Store. This facility will make the consumer’s payment process more seamless and it’s a boon for those who do not own credit cards or do not prefer online transactions.

According to Nikhil Mathur, Director – B2B & Operator Channels, Nokia India Sales Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Microsoft Mobile Oy,

“Microsoft’s partnership with Idea Cellular is a big step towards providing Indian consumers easy and simplified access to Windows Store content through operator billing. With smartphones becoming more affordable, adoption of mobile internet is witnessing an unprecedented growth and we are confident that this partnership will further accelerate growth for the app ecosystem with mobile internet users making a shift towards consuming premium apps and content on their devices.”

Speaking at the announcement, Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Cellular, said:

Microsoft and Idea have had a long-standing and an extremely fruitful association, and this new venture will only strengthen our joint mission to offer enriched services to our consumers. This development eases a consumer’s access to premium apps on Windows Store through a convenient purchase process. We are happy to be the first operator to partner with Microsoft for Windows Store and offer our consumers the ease to download a range of local and global applications without worrying about the mode of payment.

Harish Vaidyanathan, Director-Evangelism at Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd, said:

Microsoft is constantly working on expanding monetization options for developers on our platforms and this partnership is another step in that direction. Unlike other parts of the world, credit card penetration in India is very low and this in turn impedes the consumer purchase experience and limits app monetization. With the introduction of operator billing, we have seen significant increase in consumer commerce across developed and emerging markets. We expect Microsoft’s partnership with Idea Cellular to immensely benefit consumers and developers,”

Idea users can use this facility on all Microsoft Lumia devices as well as on Windows-based smartphones to access their favourite premium apps and games from the Windows Phone Store. They can pay them through integrated operator billing and the amount will be deducted from their pre-paid balance or will be added in their monthly mobile phone bills, depending on their data plans.

As of now, the threshold amount of payment is Rs. 300. Currently, the Windows Phone store has 550,000 apps and sees a 66% YoY growth in the number of titles available with 8 billion cumulative downloads to date. Globally, it offers 81 mobile operator billing connections in 46 markets with carriers representing 2.5 billion total subscribers. Operator billing helps developers increase revenues and we have witnessed an increase of 8x per month for total paid transactions in emerging markets and 3x in developed markets, as said in a press release.

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