Apple continues its expansion of its carrier billing option for iTunes and App Store purchases, as it today added Japan to the short, but growing list of countries where the option is available. Japanese customer were previously required to use credit cards or stored credit balances to make purchases.
This makes Japan Apple’s fifth market globally to get this payment method after Germany and Russia last year, and just a day after Taiwan and Switzerland launched on Tuesday.
An anonymous source told CNBC that customers of KDDI, Japan’s second largest wireless provider, will be offered the option, which allows customers to have their iTunes and App Store purchases billed directly to their monthly cellular service bill. Apple has posted instructions on how to set up the feature in the Payment Information section of the iTunes Store, which is available when users are signed in to the Store.
Japan is the third largest market for App Store transactions, trailing only China and the United States. It was previously second, but China overtook it in the first quarter of this year. Apple hasn’t announced which countries are in line next to receive the new billing feature, but sources indicate several more are in the pipeline to receive it.
While Apple appears to be taking a deliberate approach to carrier billing, rival Google has been signing up as many global carriers as possible for carrier billing in its Google Play store, and now has carrier billing availability in 45 markets, including deals with Japan’s top three phone companies.