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Apple expands iTunes carrier billing options to Russia's Beeline

Russian iPhone owners can now bill iTunes purchases to their carrier, instead of having to pay via a credit or debit card, a report said on Thursday.

For the moment the option is only available for customers of Beeline, a local unit of the Dutch company VimpelCom, sources explained to CNBC. People can select it by going into their Apple account's payment settings.

Carrier billing for iTunes first launched in Germany last month, but only for O2 subscribers. CNBC's sources claim that Apple's backend partner in both countries isn't Bango, but rather Boku, a San Francisco firm.

The ability to put iTunes purchases on phone bills has been a demand for many years, particularly in countries where credit cards are less common. Carriers can sometimes charge fees as high as 10 to 30 percent on billed transactions, but such rates are coming down and Apple has reportedly negotiated single-digit percentages.

Where Apple might take carrier billing next is unknown, as is how the company is addressing potential privacy concerns with carriers recording iTunes purchases.