Following initial launch of iTunes carrier billing in Russia with Telefonica’s O2 and in Germany with VimpelCom’s Beeline unit nearly a year ago, Apple has now brought this alternative option to customers in Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland, according to reports from CNBC and Mashable.
Carrier billing lets customers without access to credit or gift cards have their app and media purchases charged directly to their monthly mobile phone bill or deducted from their prepaid amount.
As mentioned, carrier billing can be used to pay for media purchases made on the iTunes Store, books purchased from the iBooks Store, apps bought from the App Store and Mac App Store and also to cover Apple Music subscription fees.
As the iBooks Store is currently unavailable in Taiwan, customers there cannot use carrier billing on the iBooks Store. Additionally, carrier billing in Taiwan is only available to Far Eastone contract holders.
In Switzerland, carrier billing is available through Swisscom.
“Something previously reserved for Android users is now available to millions of Apple customers via Swisscom,” said the carrier in a media release. “As a result of an extensive collaboration, they can as of now easily pay for digital content in the App Store and on iTunes, Apple Music, iBooks and Apple TV via their mobile phone bills.”
Here’s a list of Apple’s current carrier billing deals.
In Japan, the option is currently limited to local carrier KDDI, the country’s second-largest mobile phone company.
By comparison, Google’s Play Store on Android devices currently supports mobile billing in 45 markets, including deals with Japan’s top three phone companies. According to CNBC’s sources, after seeing positive results from its initial carrier billing deals, Apple has several more countries in the “near-term pipeline.”
The full list of carriers that support iTunes carrier billing, along with other useful information, can be found in a support document on Apple’s website.