Google has confirmed that Verizon Wireless customers will soon be able to pay for Google Play apps and other media via their monthly phone bills, making Verizon the last U.S. carrier to offer the service.
The search giant said in a tweet that the ability will be rolled out over the coming weeks.
Google is doing all it can to boost the profitability of Google play, which, in its Android Market form, struggled to generate revenue. Media companies, meanwhile, see the phone bill as a huge opportunity to boost customer spending. 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. said Verizon likely would enable the feature soon. Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile for quite some time.
Critics, meanwhile, say that the phone bill is quickly becoming a Trojan horse for clever marketers to thrust new charges on to customers.
Verizon is capping the Google Play charges that can be added to a bill at $25 per phone number per month, a Verizon representative said.
Some users already have access to the service, while the remainder should have it within a couple of weeks.
Update, 12:40 p.m. PT:Adds details, and comment from Verizon.