Customers of AT&T should see a new billing option for Android Market purchases over the coming days. A post on the official Android Developers Blog says that direct carrier billing for AT&T was part of the recent Market update that has been rolling out over the last couple of days.
Carrier billing was actually announced back in July 2009, but T-Mobile has been the only carrier to offer it so far. One carrier insider with knowledge of the situation told me that Google gave T-Mobile carrier billing first after they agreed to support the Nexus One. T-Mobile added carrier billing in December 2009, which is the month before the Nexus One launched, so his story sounds believable.
Sprint also announced last year that they would support direct carrier billing, but that has yet to happen. We also saw Sprint say they would support the Nexus One and then pulled support at the last moment, so you have to wonder if those moves were tied together.
When it comes to Verizon, we don’t know if they will ever offer carrier billing for the Android Market. Verizon does have that payment option in their V Cast Apps store, but we have heard nothing about them adding it to Google’s Market.
As we move into 2011, look for Google to continue to add new features to the Android Market. We already know that video previews are coming soon and hopefully we see that online storefront early next year.