Paying for mobile apps is something that most consumers have come to know as a quick and seamless process. After adding credit card details to the app store just once, installing an app typically requires nothing more than a single click: “BUY.” While this is a typical, every-day scenario for most smartphone owners with a credit card, the ability to buy apps and services becomes something of a luxury when the context shifts to all smartphone owners.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, expected to comprise 103 million smartphone users by 2018.47 Yet, the country only has around 8 million credit card owners.48 That’s just 3.2 percent of the entire population and 7.7 percent of the smartphone user population. Simply put, the vast majority of Indonesian smartphone users aren’t able to purchase the same apps and digital content enjoyed by much of the global smartphone user base. And it’s not just the consumers that suffer…

With such a significant gap between smartphone usage and the potential to monetise the apps and services that come with it, digital and communications service providers in the region are losing out on significant revenue opportunities. And, by not meeting basic customer expectations for a simple mobile app or content purchase process, they are also losing ground when it comes to exceeding them – something that has become expected of today’s mobile consumers.

Bridging the Gap: How Direct Carrier Billing Serves Untapped Consumer Groups

Fortunately, one operator is turning the industry on its head, revolutionising the way mobile apps, content and services are purchased on devices with the Android operating system (OS), Indonesia’s most popular mobile OS.

Indosat, one of the nation’s largest mobile operators, recently rolled out direct carrier billing services for the Google Play app store (the biggest Android app store in the country), enabling users to purchase apps and services using their prepaid credit or through their post-paid bills. Previously, Google Play only accepted payment via credit cards.

Subscribers only need to sign in with their Google account when they decide to purchase digital content and choose to enable Indosat billing. For all subsequent purchases, this becomes the default payment method, just as most other smartphone users have become accustomed to with their stored credit card information.

For the first time ever in Indonesia, consumers, who top up their credit without the use of a credit or debit card (often using cash), have the opportunity to purchase more than a million apps, content, games and books that were previously inaccessible to them. It’s a much easier and more convenient payment process. With direct carrier billing, any smartphone user can enjoy the same modern mobile app and content experience as everyone else around the globe.

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