Apple rolls out carrrier billing to Russia

Apple rolls out carrrier billing to Russia

Not content with removing the need for plastic swiping at the retailer terminal, Apple is looking to bypass credit cards entirely for mobile purchases with the use of carrier-billing technology from Boku.

The consumer tech giant has quietly rolled out the technology to Russian iPhone users this week, after first dipping its toes into the water in Germany in an alliance with Telefonica's 02.

In both instances, carrier billing is provided as an option on iTunes accounts for the purchase of digital music, books, games and other apps. Users simply type in their mobile phone number to enable charges to be added to their monthly airtime bill.

It marks the first time that carrier billing has been made available as an option for the purchase of goods on iTunes.

In Russia, the airtime operator partnership is forged with Beeline, the third-largest mobile operator in the country. Both Beeline and O2 have implemented carrier billing from Boku as an option for subscribers buying digital goods via their mobile.

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 December, 2015, 11:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes They may bypass card schemes (not always a good idea), but the funds are still coming from the same source (bank a/c or card on file - which is often linked to that very bank a/c anyway), whether you use V/MC, smoke signals or pigeon post. If Apple wants to be useful in payments, they should apply for a bank licence. However, that won't work as they are good with UX, but are crap with CS (Customer Service).
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 December, 2015, 12:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Mr. Peschkoff,

Good points and I have one question: what is UX? And one comment: my experience with Apple has been excellent - above and beyond really when dealing with an Apple store, by phone or by email. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 December, 2015, 13:01Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes User Experience. Call Apple and ask them what is the warranty period for their products in the EU. Then Google EU law on that... Another example: millions of users have been asking FOR YEARS for full flexible parental control on iPads. Did Apple listen?.. Actually, that nails it: as Jobs said "it's my job to tell users what they need/want". Hard to build good CS on that basis.
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 December, 2015, 13:16Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Thank you for the quick reply!

Obviously a bit of a difference in geography as I'm a Yank and I have no complaints (I'll take what Mr. Jobs provides when the alternative is the Android mess trying to be everything to everyone ...updates are a nightmare plus malware issues. It's all a trade-off and what is important to you. I have friends who swear by Android - I've used their phones and they have their good and bad points). As for the parental controls, that is huge. However, I make it a point to limit the wireless access at the router level ...and only at specified times plus there is an app we installed ...can't think of the name. (My parents had it easier - they just turned off the television and told me to go outside.) There is always a way.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 04 December, 2015, 13:242 likes 2 likes

Maybe it's only me but I see a mixup of Apple's role between this and Apple Pay. Here, Boku is the PSP (not Apple Inc., which is the Merchant). In Apple Pay, Apple Inc. is the PSP. IMO, a more appropriate headline would be "Boku rolls out carrier billing for Apple iTunes in Russia".

As for bypassing credit cards, Boku is the one doing that, not Apple. To paraphase a line from Boku's website, "Apple isn't interested in payments. It's interested in iTunes sales". Like Boku, Zong started off as a 100% MNO direct billing platform. However, as I'd highlighted in Banks Have Nothing To Fear From TELCOs, Zong achieved real traction only after it allowed credit cards to be used as the funding source. There's no saying that Boku won't follow the same path soon. Then we're back to the good old banking rails.