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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : August 25, 2011

Vodafone: Operator billing significantly boosts app sales

Allowing mobile phone users to pay for apps via their mobile bills encourages them to download more, according to Vodafone.

by Helen Leggatt

vodafone logo.gifVodafone, which already offers operator billing for Nokia and Blackberry apps in the UK, last week unveiled plans to enable payments for apps from Android Market too. This will allow considerably more clients to pay for apps for everything from music, restaurants and games, to the weather and news, without the hassle of entering credit card details.

"Vodafone operator billing extends developers' reach to the large number of app-buying customers who are unwilling or unable to use credit cards," Vodafone said in a statement. "In some countries this can be more than 90% of the market."

The ability to pay for apps via mobile phone bills certainly seems to encourage more downloads and even payments. Talking to The Telegraph today, Vodafone's Group Commercial Development Director, Tobin Ireland, said recent data shows operator billing has prompted 100% more app downloads and 70% more payments.

While the majority of Android apps currently downloaded are free, Ireland believes that the convenience of operator billing will change Android users' attitudes towards parting with cash for apps.

"You can stimulate and shape ecosystems but you can't determine them," Ireland told The Telegraph. "But I would expect the Android Market, over time, to be rebalanced much more to what you see in the Apple App store".

Tags: Android, Apple, mobile apps, mobile marketing, mobile payments, mobile phone, operator billing

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