Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Microsoft is Adding Carrier Billing to More Countries

…but it will cost you… but it will probably help you

Carrier billing is quickly becoming more common throughout the world as an option to pay for things on your phone.  Beyond convenience, the benefit to consumers is that those without credit cards are still able to make purchases.  This is extremely important in countries where the vast majority of the population doesn’t even have them.

Microsoft is Working on It

Microsoft knows this, and knows that people with Windows Phone that can’t pay for apps aren’t as helpful to the developer community as those who can.  Last year they tripled the number of carriers they could bill through to 53, across 53 markets, and have been adding gift cards as an additional option to even more markets.  For some markets though, this comes with a cost, as carrier billing can have a higher transaction fee than credit cards.

To help make it financially viable for them to keep expanding carrier billing to those markets, Microsoft is adding an additional 13.9% charge on top of the 30% they already charge, but only on purchases made with carrier billing in these countries.

This is Actually a Good Thing

While many people will complain about Microsoft charging developers even more, I think this is actually a great change for everyone.  As said before, this allows Microsoft to add carrier billing to countries where it wouldn’t be financially viable before, and developers get a much larger pool of paying customers in those markets.  Remember, that most of the people this fee will be charged against would not have been able to pay for ANYTHING before.  Now they finally can.  The extra money from those new paying customers will almost certainly dwarf the loss of the fee from those who would have paid regardless.  And this has no effect on the majority of markets, or anyone who still pays with a credit card.

Time will tell how much of an effect this will have, but I for one, am excited for it.

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