RIM: 50+ carriers now have integrated billing for BlackBerry App World

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Canadian smartphone manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) says people on more than 50 mobile carriers can now buy apps from the BlackBerry App World using integrated billing.

Integrated carrier billing enables people to purchase apps or digital goods on their BlackBerry smartphone, and have the purchases put directly on their regular monthly bill from their carrier.

According to RIM, the service is also integrated with the BlackBerry Payment Service, which enables developers and content providers to offer in-app purchases (such as additional levels in a game), as well as supporting one-off and recurring (subscription-based) purchases, “without interrupting the customer’s app experience”.

Now to some, the service might sound like it’s designed for people too lazy or paranoid to link their credit cards to their App World accounts. Think about the current state of BlackBerry for a moment and it makes much more sense though.

Although it’s plummeted from the position it once held globally, RIM is still a strong player in emerging markets such as South Africa and Indonesia. A number of its customers in those countries won’t have bank accounts, never mind credit cards. Carrier billing gives them access to the App World that they otherwise would not have had.

Vice president for the BlackBerry App World storefront at RIM Ronjon Nag said, “We’re delighted to announce that over 50 of our carrier partners are now offering integrated carrier billing to customers on BlackBerry App World. We remain committed to developing innovative ways to support our carrier partners, while providing a platform that benefits the whole mobile ecosystem.”

According to Dario Talmesio, a principal analyst at research company Informa Telecoms & Media, RIM works particularly well with mobile carriers when it comes integrated billing:

Mobile operators recognize that RIM works closely and constructively with them and with more than 50 operators now offering integrated carrier billing it’s a great milestone that shows these relationships are productive. Mobile operators recognize the business benefits this service provides and the opportunities for repeated customer engagement on BlackBerry App World.

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