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Google, Sprint announce carrier billing for Android Market apps

A new partnership lets Android owners pay for games or other apps via their monthly Sprint bills.

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Android owners on Sprint can now pay for apps via their monthly bills.
Android owners on Sprint can now pay for apps via their monthly bills. Google

Android users on Sprint's network won't have to pay for Angry Birds Rio and other Android Market purchases on their Visa cards much longer.

Today, Google announced a partnership with Sprint that lets you add your Android app buys to your monthly voice and data bill.

Carrier billing, as it's called, opens Android to one more payment method, in addition to the prevailing system of credit card billing.

Deferring app payments has its benefits. First, it lets phone owners decide how they want to settle a bill, and second, it allows customers without credit cards to purchase premium apps.

Owners of prepaid phones are one demographic that typically tends to pay bills with cash or other methods instead of with a credit card. The same goes for subscribers in emerging global markets. More basic Android phones are becoming increasingly prevalent in these sectors.

Google stated in a blog post that it will continue to partner with global carriers to bring the carrier billing option to more subscribers worldwide.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that for now, at least, Android Market carrier billing won't extend to Sprint's prepaid brands, like Virgin Mobile USA or Boost Mobile.

Update, 1:15 p.m. PT with information about Sprint's prepaid brands.