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We reported two weeks ago that VIP Croatia has suspended carrier billing for Windows Phoneson that network, reportedly due to a Microsoft decision, and wondered if it was the start of a trend.
Now unfortunately there is some evidence of that trend, with Slovenia’s Simobil also stopping carrier billing for Windows Phones on their network, effective 11th November 2016. The date is the same as VIP Croatia, suggesting the same payment processor is involved.
Simobil is Slovenia’s second largest carrier, and is a subsidiary of Telecom Austria, and given the earlier popularity of Windows Phone in Eastern Europe it is likely quite a few Windows Phone users are affected.
In their official statement Simobil simply notes:
Notice of cancellation of mobile payment service purchases in the Windows Phone Store
We inform you that from 11. 11. 2016 discontinuing mobile payment services purchases in the Windows Phone Store. Users of mobile devices Windows will have to make purchases in the Windows Phone Store, there are other alternative means of payment (eg. Credit card). On 11 11. 2016 terminated Specific conditions for using the purchase in the Windows Phone Store.
Existing subscribers, subject to the rights under Article 129 of the Electronic Communications Act-1, have the right, within 30 days of notice of the change, without notice, without payment of cost of terminating the subscription and without penalty, withdraw from the subscription contract, if proposed changes to disagree.
It appears users will have the right to cancel their contracts due to the change.
Carrier Billing is an important feature of the Windows Store, particularly in parts of the world where credit cards are not very common.
Microsoft currently offers carrier billing on more than 80 carriers worldwide covering a potential 2.5 billion customers and has noted that the availability of this feature increases total paid transactions by 8x per month in emerging markets and 3x in developed markets.
The feature will stop working soon, but of course other methods such as credit cards will remain available.
Have any of our readers in other markets been affected?