Microsoft and Idea Cellular tie up for operator billing in India

Idea subscribers can now buy apps on the Windows Phone store and pay for them though their cell phone bill

Carrier billing for app purchases isn't exactly new, but it isn't something we're used to in India. That's about to change, thanks to Microsoft and Idea, who have tied up to let Idea subscribers pay for Windows Store app purchases through operator billing.

What exactly does this mean for you? Well, if you're an Idea Cellular subscriber and use a Lumia device (or for that matter, any old Windows Phone device), you can now buy premium apps and games from the Windows Store and pay for them through your monthly cellular bill or let it deduct the cost from your prepaid balance. Idea Cellular, with this, becomes the first operator in India to offer integrated operator billing on the Windows Store, which will no doubt sit well with users who can't (or won't) use their credit or debit cards online. Microsoft should hope to sell more apps this way, now that people can essentially pay by cash for their premium purchases. The Windows Store currently offers over 550,000 apps and enjoys a 66% YoY growth in the number of titles available with 8 billion cumulative downloads to date, as per Microsoft's own figures. We're still not particularly impressed with the quality of the Windows Store itself, but it continues to grow and a move like this will only help in promoting the ecosystem.