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Carrier billing comes to Windows 10 through Boku with Sprint and Swisscom as first partners

The idea of buying apps and games through your cell phone carrier is not new on mobile, but it is a novel idea for those on desktops, laptops, and tablets. Today, Microsoft is officially partnering up with Boku to bring carrier billing to Windows 10 proper with direct integration in the Windows Store.

The partnership is kicking off with Sprint and Swisscom although more carriers are arriving "in the coming months". With the option enabled, users can buy movies, music, games, apps and more on any Windows 10 device and have it billed directly to their phone bill instead of using a credit card.

Evidently, Boku is one of the biggest carrier partners in the world boasting "more than 260 carrier connections, reaching 4 billion mobile subscribers worldwide." Carrier billing is especially a big deal for emerging markets where access to credit is difficult to attain. According to Microsoft, carrier billing has resulted in an "8x lift" in purchases for emerging markets making this feature very important for Windows Store growth.

In a quote from Boku CEO, Jon Prideaux:

"What's worth highlighting about this particular implementation is that carrier billing will be offered across all Windows 10 devices, not just the mobile phone. This is consistent with the way in which we consume digital content today and proof that carrier billing is hardly just a payment method for on-mobile purchases. Its convenience, security, and ubiquity make it a great general-purpose alternative payment in any setting."

The feature should be rolling out today and we look forward to announcing more carriers in the coming months for users who look to utilize this payment options. See the presser below for more information and let us know in comments if you'd use such an option.

Boku Launches Carrier Billing for the new Windows Store

Windows 10 customers can now use their mobile phone bill to pay for apps, games, music, and more on the new Windows Store

December 10, 2015 – San Francisco, CA – Boku announced an expanded agreement this morning with Microsoft Corp., bringing Boku® direct carrier billing to the new Windows Store for the first time. As part of the new integration with Boku, consumers will be able to use their mobile phone number to add their mobile operator account as a payment option when making purchases of applicable content in the Windows Store. This is the first time carrier billing will be offered as a payment option to the full range of Windows devices, including mobile phones, tablets, PCs, or laptops. Starting today, carrier billing will be available to mobile subscribers on carriers in the United States, with further expansion underway.

"Microsoft is a great example of a company that has always understood the value of carrier billing and, with the new Windows Store, they are creating a tremendous opportunity for developers and consumers alike," said Jon Prideaux, CEO of Boku. "What's worth highlighting about this particular implementation is that carrier billing will be offered across all Windows 10 devices, not just the mobile phone. This is consistent with the way in which we consume digital content today and proof that carrier billing is hardly just a payment method for on-mobile purchases. Its convenience, security, and ubiquity make it a great general-purpose alternative payment in any setting."

According to data released by Microsoft, Windows Phone carrier billing contributes, on average, an 8x lift in purchase rates in emerging markets and 3x in developed markets. Over 60% of Windows Phone Store monthly paid users originated from carrier billing. This new alliance will extend this capability to all Windows 10 devices.

In the Windows Store, Microsoft customers can easily and quickly designate payment through a carrier by using the payment instrument system in the Windows Store. Once initialized, customers are able to charge app and digital content purchases directly to their mobile operator account.

"The Windows Store is designed to be a one-stop shopping experience for free and paid digital content. We believe offering carrier billing is important to giving consumers a convenient payment method and driving developer monetization," said Todd Brix, Windows Store General Manger. "We decided to work with Boku because of its team, technology, and carrier relationships."

About Boku

Boku, the leading direct carrier billing mobile payments company, reaches more than 4 billion consumers in more than 70 countries. Its bank-grade payments technology allows consumers to charge purchases to their mobile phone bill. Boku partners with global merchants including Facebook, Sony, Spotify, Electronic Arts, Wargaming, and many more. Based in San Francisco with offices in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Boku is funded by leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists including Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and NEA.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

26 Comments
  • Tata DoCoMo India... Are you listening....? We need this too
  • If I'm not wrong, as of now idea is the only one to provide proper carrier billing(store payments as well as iap's) in India for wp, the reason i switched from reliance(who only allowed iap's, no store payments)
  • sorry, but wasn't this already available on wp8.1? do we have to start from scratch now?
  • If you read the article you would notice that this is for Windows 10 and not just Windows 10 Mobile. Please re-read it.
  • This for PC and mobile devices
  • Interesting. I think that Sprint is kind of odd considering that they have 1 Windows Phone ? Just one. Then again, T-mobile has zero, so eh.
  • T-Mobile has the 640 still. ATT is the only carrier with a single Windows 10 device. What does it matter? Sprint is just trying to grip up that Windows Store money from desktops and tablets, an area where they wouldn't cater to anyway. They're essentially acting as a credit line here, so their phone lineup has no real ties to this announcement.
  • At&t has 640 go phone, 640xl and 950
  • Fair points. I said that T-mobile has zero because it's hard to find a 640 to buy now. It's kind of rare now, if not already rare.
  • Sprint has 3
  • also, does carrier billing on PC makes sense? I mean, how do you associate your mobile billing to PC? If works is cool, but initially sounds weird
  • For a tablet, I can see it though. You have service on the tablet through the carrier, so billing through the carrier can make some sense.
  • via your Microsoft Account, your phone is connected to your microsoft account as well. so the MS Account have info about your phone and such.
  • It's all links to your Windows account
  • yeah, but still is strange, specially on a PC (ok, maybe not in a tablet with SIM card).
  • My guess is like how hulu & tv networks link to tv service providers accounts
  • Wow! Thank u ms for listening to feedback. Hope this comes to India as well.
  • Good news for me, a Swisscom customer! I wonder how my MS Account will be connected to my mobile phone number. I guess I will be able to add my MS account to my existing Swisscom service.
  • It will be interesting to see which part of the MS Account will be linked to the carrier billing. I am also a SWISSCOM customer, but since I am using Cortana, I am "virtually" a UK person in my user profile. At the moment, even my region is UK. Only the SIM card identifies me as a SWISSCOM customer. I would certainly not make use of the carrier billing if I would lose Cortana. And no-one knows when Switzerland would ever get Cortana........
  • The absolute worst US carrier at supporting windows phone is supporting this. What a strange world we live in.
  • Ironic but intriguing
  • Haha boku.... Any telugu people here???
  • Does this means there is light for Sprint and a future. That is a leap forward. Major progress for Sprint.
  • Let's Hope so !
  • Used this to dump the rest of my tmo prepaid balance(was traveling in US & wanted data which I now can get thru knowroaming a similar deal) to nfsw boost currency since apparently MS doesn't allow foreign sim cards to be used for app/game purchases go figure
  • We need this in Canada for Xbox purchases!!