The carrier billing program from Google looks simple enough. Any transactions made through the Play Store – apps, movie rentals, and everything else — go directly to your monthly statement rather than attaching your credit card or other payment methods to your account.
It's a simple technique to speed up your transactions, but in light of recent events, it might no longer exist at all.
AT&T is announcing its exit from the initiative shortly after Verizon ended its cooperation with Google earlier this year.
Customers of AT&T are being informed of upcoming changes to their phone plan via a new notice posted on the support page for Google Play's permitted payment methods. New customers and those who hadn't yet set up carrier billing for the first time will no longer be able to utilize their monthly payment to pay for apps and other digital content as of this month.
AT&T will cease to be a Google Play payment partner in September, but current users can continue using their payment method as usual (try saying that five times fast).
With these modifications, the only users still allowed to charge through their phone bills are those on Boost Mobile, T-Mobile (together with former Sprint customers), and US Cellular.
Verizon was a long-time Google partner, but it abruptly terminated support early this year. The carrier claimed at the time that it was a "business choice." Play Store buyers continue to have access to credit and debit cards, PayPal, Google Play gift cards, and Google Pay balances as previously.
We've gotten in touch with AT&T to find out why it's leaving Google's carrier payment scheme, and we'll update our coverage with any response we get.
Subscribers to Ma Bell may want to get out their credit card for the time being because the easy monthly payments are about to end.