Apple Expands iTunes Carrier Billing to Japan as Rollout Gains Pace

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newitunes122logoApple today added Japan to its list of countries eligible for iTunes carrier billing, suggesting the company is set to fast-track its expansion of the payment feature to regions across the globe (via Mashable).

Japan becomes the fifth market to accept the transaction method, which allows users to charge iTunes content purchases directly to their cellphone bill instead of registering a bank card or using a gift coupon. The feature got its launch in Switzerland and Taiwan yesterday, following its debut in Germany and Russia last year.

According to an anonymous source who spoke to CNBC, customers with Japan's second largest mobile company KDDI will be able to use the payment mode, which has yet to be officially announced in the country. Apple has posted instructions on how to use the convenience feature, which can be found in the Payment Information section of the iTunes Store after users have signed in with their credentials.

Users in Japan make up the third largest market for App Store transactions, behind China and the U.S., indicating Apple's willingness to make carrier billing its next go-to online purchase method behind Apple Pay. There's no word as yet regarding which countries will be next to get Apple's approval for the feature, but the company has several more countries in the near-term pipeline, sources said.

Apple appears ready to go the way of Google, which already offers mobile billing to users of its Google Play store in 45 markets, including deals with Japan's top three cellular carriers.

Apple's more deliberate rollout has likely been dependent on how prepared mobile companies are to cut a deal with Cupertino and accept lower transaction handling rates. While carriers have charged as much as 10 to 30 percent to handle transactions in the past, Apple has previously secured deals for better rates in the single digits.

Top Rated Comments

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54 months ago
Sorry, but there's no way I'm going to let my Japanese cell provider to get their sticky fingers onto any more of my money. In my experience, when they make a billing error, it takes months to sort out.
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54 months ago

Sorry, but there's no way I'm going to let my Japanese cell provider to get their sticky fingers onto any more of my money. In my experience, when they make a billing error, it takes months to sort out.

Really? I though Japanese obsession of time could help solving problems faster. Or they just don't want to solve it?
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54 months ago

Really? I though Japanese obsession of time could help solving problems faster. Or they just don't want to solve it?

I've dealt with all three of the major carriers — NTT, KDDI and Softbank — and all three operate at a snail's pace when it comes to refunding charges they have erroneously billed.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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54 months ago

"...which allows users to charge iTunes content purchases directly to their cellphone bill instead of registering a bank card or using a gift coupon."

WOW ... hard to understand going this route rather than through an iTunes account ... I fuel my account with 15% - 25% OFF iTunes cards.

Having lived outside the U.S., the iTunes card discounts are really only a U.S./Canada thing. I never noticed a discount on iTunes cards either at local supermarkets or at iStorm (Apple Authorized Retailer). Though considering the way consumers are in the U.S., I can't see carrier billing from Apple coming to the U.S.
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