Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:05

Go ogle a new way to buy Android apps and content on Telstra!

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Telstra and Google 'appily team up on app payments Telstra and Google 'appily team up on app payments Image: Digital Mischief

If you’re an Android smartphone user on Telstra, whether pre-paid or receiving a bill in the (e)mail, you can now buy apps and charge it to your pre-paid credit, or add it to your bill. Swell!

Attempts to get end-users to buy things using the credit on their phones, or to have purchases added to your phone bill, have been around for some time – but this way of doing things still hasn’t blossomed.

Sure, you can buy cans of fizzy drink at some public transport stops where a mobile-friendly machine awaits, with some parking meters having the same capabilities, and there’s even NFC tech and “digital wallets” which remain, at least for most people, more payment curiosities than payment realities.

However, when you’re Australia’s largest telco, with millions of customers, getting a deal done with the world’s largest advertising company and smartphone OS provider that dabbles in search engines from time to time, Google, shouldn’t be too hard.

So, it was great to see Telstra announcing, this morning, that its customers with an Android smartphone now had new ways to buy apps and content with the credit in their pre-paid accounts, or to have those app purchases charged to post-paid bills, with more details here at Telstra’s site.

Naturally, there are caveats and controls to ensure sky-high bills don’t ensue each month: pre-paid customers are limited to $20 worth of app purchases at a time via each pre-paid credit recharge – providing the funds are there to be spent, of course – and a $100 limit for post-paid customers.

Post-paid customers wanting to spend more than this per month and have it charged to their bills can contact Telstra on 125 111 to have this limit adjusted (presumably to both higher and lower levels), although anyone with the ready cash desperate to buy more apps or content can always charge app purchases direct to a credit card – no Telstra billing systems required.

Telstra notes that this means the “latest apps, games, movies, magazines and books” can be charged to your mobile bill, with the service being “the first time Australians can pay for Google Play app store purchases using a mobile phone account”, which, as Telstra notes, does provide “a convenient alternative to using a credit card” – alongside a special discount offer detailed at the end of this article.

The impressively named Freddie Jansen Van Nieuwenhuizen, whose title is Telstra’s Director of Consumer Applications and Service, was on hand in Telstra’s media release to explain the new service, stating that:

“Aussies love their mobile apps. Telstra research shows that on average we download 36 apps each year and one in five of those are paid for.

“With more than 700,000 games, apps, books, movies and magazines now available on Google Play – including a wide selection of paid titles – many of our customers have told us they would like a simpler way to buy.

“So we’ve teamed up with Google to allow our customers to place Google Play purchases of up to $20 per transaction on their Telstra mobile bill. We’re also making it easier for our Pre-Paid customers to buy apps by letting them use their main account balance to make Google Play purchases provided they have credit available.”

There’s another thing that Telstra and Google have partnered on, and that’s a launch discount half-price promotion, which goes until the 18th of December and includes “games, fitness and tools”, which includes titles such as “HD Widgets, Swiftkey 3, Soundhound, Infinity Paper, Camera, Smart Tools, Endomondo, Pro Ocean HD, Mini Motor Racing, World of Goo, Sketchbook Mobile and Star Chart”.

If you’re a Telstra customer and want to know how to charge an app to your account, you simply need to go to the app in question, click “accept and buy”, then select what is obviously a new option called “Bill my Telstra account”, and then click “accept and buy” another time to complete the transaction.

Your phone bill will never be the same again!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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