In April 2009, RIM’s fledgling BlackBerry App World virtual storefront offered PayPal as its sole billing mechanism. At the time, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said - to the great relief of telcos - that it was working to introduce carrier billing options sometime in the future.
Then, only last month, Vodafone announced at Mobile World Congress that it had entered into an agreement with RIM to provide operator billing for BlackBerry App World sometime later this year.
Vodafone’s company blog proudly boasted that “with so many interesting announcements during the course of the show last week, we wanted to highlight this as it will no doubt be of interest to the community.
“With ‘Charge to Bill’ for BlackBerry App World, consumers will have the flexibility of charging the cost of their app, or a payment within the app, directly to their bill. It also has the added benefit of not interrupting the user experience in the same way that credit card or PayPal payments can.
“This added layer of convenience makes it easier for consumers to purchase content and services, and has potential to increase the number of paid-for downloads on the platform.”
According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, the fleeting romance and impending engagement with mobile operators may never reach the altar. It seems a tiff is developing over electronic wallet functions and where user’s payment credentials will be stored.