Vodafone kills Play Store operator billing in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain, doesn’t say why

When you introduce friction during the transaction process, chances are you’re not going to bother with the transaction at all. It’s why Amazon got so big, they were the first to store all your credit card information and let you buy anything you wanted from their website with just one click. Now the same can be said about buying applications. You’re an advanced user, so you’ve already got your Visa connected to your Google account, but think of mom or dad. They see an app they really want, like the $0.99 price tag, so they decide to click buy, what happens?

An extraordinarily painful process begins whereby they have to type in their credit card details on the new smartphone they just purchased, the one with the tiny keys they still haven’t figured out how to use properly. Frustration ensues, and the purchase doesn’t happen.

Enter operator billing. Your phone has a SIM card inside, and you either pay a monthly bill or you’re a prepaid customer. Why not just charge the transaction to the company that you already have a financial relationship with?

Vodafone, one of the largest operators on the face of this planet, used to enable operator billing in the Google Play Store in Western Europe, but for reasons that weren’t mentioned, they’ve decided to turn it off. Specifically in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Why? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s likely a political move done because Vodafone wanted something that Google simply refused to give them, so they just cut the cord as a form of retaliation.

[Via: Android Police]

Update: Check out this Vodafone blog post from August 2011 and try not to laugh.