Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator has now entered the app store market. With the huge success of Apple’s app store, many handset makers like RIM, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have imbibed the business model. This is the first time that an operator has introduced the app store, though, we had slight idea that Aircel is about to launch its own app store soon when it tied up with Infosys for the same.
Bharti’s app store is set to go live Today, with over 1,200 applications. The main advantage for the developers would Airtel’s 500 million subscriber base. Developing an app which would run on all the types of OS would be a challenge that developers would have to face.
Mr Bindal also pointed out that Bharti held an edge over other players in this space because of its billing model. While a third of the apps are available for free, customers must pay between Rs 5 to Rs 25 for remaining apps, even as Bharti will enable its subscribers to use certain apps for Re 1/day.
For pre-paid customers, the cost of the apps will be deducted from the talktime, while for post-paid, it will be part of the bill, explains Mr Bindal. On the other hand purchasing an app from handset makers requires customers to make an online transaction using their credit or debit cards.
We can also tweak the apps and customise them for each region. There will be a lot of local content and the ability to micromanage gives us the edge. With over 120 million customers we have an understanding of their preferences, consumption trends and other market data which we can convert into meaningful product and services,Mr Bindal added.