Now you can pay for Google Play apps with your Telkom airtime

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It’s about time this happened: Telkom has reached an agreement with Google and the Bango carrier billing platform to let its customers charge Play Store purchases directly to their Telkom Mobile accounts.

They’re calling it “Direct Carrier Billing”, and it will work for all smartphones and tablets on Telkom’s mobile network. You don’t have to be a contract subscriber, either, as apparently it also lets people use their prepaid money to buy stuff as well.

Basically, if something on the Play Store can be bought – be it apps, in-app purchases, books or games – Telkom Mobile customers can now buy it with airtime money or have the cost added to their contract bills.

Which means that if you don’t have a bank account, or don’t want to give your credit card details to Google, or want to install Candy Crush on a burner phone, you can.

Setting up it up is easy – just change your payment to Telkom in the Google Play store settings.

And for those worried that this could lead to inadvertent purchases, fear not: Telkom’s official release says there’s a “double opt-in” process involved that requires your consent twice before any purchase is final, and all items are listed in detail on the final bill to avoid confusion.

This is a boon to South Africans who either don’t trust mobile platforms with their payment information or who don’t have access to a credit card, and could be the key to growing mobile revenues for local app developers. Well played, Telkom.

Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.