While many of us take it for granted, not everyone has access to a credit card, which can make participating in the online economy a bit difficult. For smartphones, at least, there’s always the possibility of direct carrier billing, where the charges from your online transactions show up on your phone bill alongside your service plan options. Google’s been gradually adding support for carriers to be billed directly in the Android Market, most recently giving the ability to Sprint customers.
Last year, T-Mobile users were the first in the US to get carrier billing through the Android Market, followed in December by AT&T. With Sprint on-board, Verizon is the last major US network that still lacks the feature. Google has commented that it’s trying to get more carriers signed-on for direct billing, and that it should have more news in a few months, but didn’t single out any specific carriers as those likely to join next.
The activation of Sprint’s system is nearly complete, expected to wrap up tomorrow. By then, all Sprint Android users should be able to take advantage of direct billing, should they choose to. If you would rather not have your mobile account tied to Android Market purchases, you can always opt-out with Sprint.
Unfortunately, owners of aging Androids could be left out of this arrangement, as neither the HTC Hero nor Samsung Moment will support Sprint direct carrier billing.