Every phone geek loves to debate how long it’ll be before we’ve trashed our wallets in favor of paying for stuff with our phones in the real world — but what about online?
Tailing a similar announcement by Verizon a few months back, T-Mobile has just announced that they’re opening up their carrier billing system to online retailers, allowing T-Mobile customers to charge things purchased on the web (whether it’s purchased on a smartphone, a tablet, or a good ol’ fashion computer) right to their monthly bill.
There are a bunch of businesses competing in this space right now — so which one is T-Mobile partnering with? Er… pretty much all of them, actually. Right off the bat, T-Mobile is calling on BillToMobile, PayFone, Boku, OpenMarket, and Zong to power things, and they say that “additional strategic billing service partners” will be added as time goes on. Sounds messy.
Worried about lil’ Timmy snatching up all the porn he can find and charging it to his Sidekick? T-Mobile says that age-appropriate content blocking will be made available to parents, while a two-step purchase verification system should make it a bit harder for would-be thieves to buy things in your name. Each purchase will be broken down on your bill at the end of the month, which, if nothing else, should serve as a painful reminder that buying a new tractor for your Farmville farm probably wasn’t the best way to burn a week’s pay.
T-Mobile doesn’t name any specific vendors or retailers that’ll be offering up the Charge-To-T-Mobile button at launch, but it looks like they’re going for smaller game: amongst the purchase examples listed are “online purchases of digital games, gaming and social networking credits, music, videos and other digital content”. In other words, it’ll probably be a while before you’re charging that Bugatti Veyron to the wireless bill.
T-Mobile Carrier Billing should go live on its first few sites later this month.