T-Mobile users can tuck Google Play charges into phone bill

As Google looks for ways to squeeze more revenue out of the Android platform, the company continues to add to the ways people can pay for music, movies, and apps.

A T-Mobile employee was on hand at the Google Music launch last fall. Greg Sandoval/CNET

Google Play customers who also are on a T-Mobile plan can pay for their music, apps, movies, and books from the software store at the same time they pay off their monthly phone bills, the companies announced today.

Google also said that Sprint will offer similar direct billing options soon for the former Android Market, which was renamed Google Play in March.

Media companies see the phone bill as the promised land. Phone bills already come loaded with such an impenetrable array of confusing surcharges, fees, and taxes that the hope is consumers won't notice much if they add one more.

Critics say that the phone bill is quickly becoming a Trojan horse for clever marketers to thrust new charges on to customers.

Google is doing all it can to boost the profitability of Google Play, which, in its Android Market form, struggled to generate revenue.

I'm checking with Google to make sure there are no additional charges connected to paying via a phone bill. If there aren't, and if the Google Play charges are clearly broken out so that its easy to keep track of spending, I say what's the harm?

Update 1:28 p.m. PT A Google spokeswoman said she "doesn't believe" there are any added fees.

 

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