Sprint is now joining T-Mobile and AT&T to support carrier billing in the Android Market. Carrier billing means that users can pay for apps on their next mobile phone bill, instead of using a credit card or some other third-party mobile payments service.Developers will soon have another way to charge Android users for apps, it appears. U.S. mobile operator
According to reports, the rollout of this feature started on April 7 and will continue until April 14.
From a Sprint memo, the carrier billing option will be available on Android devices, except for the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment. And the new option will not affect any of the other processes involved with purchasing apps. Says Sprint:
There is no change to how customers access, manage or request refunds for Android Marketplace purchases. Customers will continue to contact Google or the 3rd party content provider for refunds and support of the application.
Customers receive an email with each purchase providing the contact information for support of purchases.
On customer invoices, there will only be a line item with the total amount, but no taxes. The charges will typically show up on the next billing cycle.
Because Sprint also allows customers to "opt out" of content purchases, those who have previously done so will still see the new payment option, but will not be able to complete the transaction. To change their opt-out status, the customer would need to call customer care or go online to Sprint's website and make the change.
Over at AndroidCentral, a tipster provided the blog with an early screenshot of what the new payment option will look like. Now, users will have a choice between using their credit card or an option that reads "bill my Sprint account."
With this rollout, the only major operator not offering direct carrier billing in the U.S. is Verizon. However, BilltoMobile, a Verizon partner, has agreements in place with mobile payment companies BOKU and Zong, in order to provide the carrier billing option to their customers.
Google also notes via blog post that other networks in Japan - SoftBank, KDDI, and NTT DOCOMO - support carrier billing as well.