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Operator Billing in Nokia Store now available for Indian Airtel & Vodafone users

As a part of their efforts to encourage Indian users to pay for premium content at Nokia Store, we saw that Nokia reduced the price levels by about a fifth of the previous price. Today, at the Nokia Strategy Summit in Mumbai, Nokia announced that they are introducing Operator Billing with two major Indian operators – Airtel & Vodafone.

In my opinion, this is going to prove to be the biggest catalyst in increasing Nokia Store’s activity in India. Like I mentioned in the post about the price cut, the biggest hurdle Indian users faced while trying to buy pair apps & games was payment via Credit Card and suggested that Nokia introduce operator billing with major carriers if they wish to encourage Indian users to buy more paid content. With Airtel & Vodafone covered, Nokia has effectively empowered millions of users to pay for apps & games at the touch of a key. Well done Nokia! You are late, but better late than never.

Screenshots of Operator Billing -

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Edit: Full Press Release Below:

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NOKIA STORE OPENS DOORS TO VODAFONE AND AIRTEL CONSUMERS
Nokia joins hands with Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel to offer consumers easy access to premium content

Madh Island, Mumbai, May 9, 2012: – Aiming to enhance consumer experience, Nokia today announced partnerships with Vodafone India (Vodafone) and Bharti Airtel (Airtel), the two largest GSM mobile operators in India, to offer integrated billing solutions on the Nokia Store. Vodafone and Airtel consumers can now download a plethora of top local and global paid content on Nokia’s immensely popular mobile application store and pay for their downloads as part of their monthly mobile phone bills or have the amount deducted from the pre-paid balance.

The Nokia Store is a one-stop-shop for mobile content to help users personalize their Nokia devices. It has received tremendous success from Indian consumers and developers and supports the widest range of content and file types including applications, games, videos, podcasts, productivity tools, web and location-based services and much more. With over 100,000 pieces of content, it is driving more than 13 million download requests per day globally, from 3 million downloads just over a year ago. Nokia Store India currently sees more than 60 million downloads a month. Currently consumers have the option of purchasing premium content via credit cards.

Highlighting the benefits of the partnership for their consumers, Mr. Sanjoy Mukerji, Chief Commercial Officer, Vodafone India said, “Nokia and Vodafone have had a longstanding and an extremely fruitful association, and this new venture will only strengthen our joint mission to drive mobile internet adoption and thereby offer enriched services to our loyal consumers. By bringing premium apps to consumers through the Nokia Store via a convenient purchase process, this relationship aims to nurture the apps ecosystem and usher in significant growth in adoption of data and usage of apps in India. This would also offer significant monetization opportunities to developers and galvanize local content development. This service is a big step in a series of innovation led products from Vodafone”.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. N Rajaram, Chief Marketing Officer, Bharti Airtel, said, “We constantly innovate and partner with the best in the world to offer our customers rich content and experiences. This partnership will strengthen our efforts to increase usage of Mobile Internet services in India. It will provide access to premium Apps, Games etc. from across the globe, thereby enriching the customer experience. In addition it will accelerate the development of the Mobile Internet ecosystem in India.”

Going a step further, Nokia also announced the availability of in-app billing solutions, which allow consumers to purchase digital content directly from within the application’s interface providing them with greater control over the content they purchase. In addition, Nokia has also put in place a broader range of price points on the Nokia Store in India creating a hugely attractive and valuable purchase opportunity.

According to Mr. Viral Oza, Director Marketing, Nokia India, said, “The Nokia Store is focused on providing relevant and useful content to our consumers to help them get the most out of their mobile lifestyle. The response from consumers in India has already exceeded our expectations, with the number of monthly downloads at 60 million and growing. We believe our partnership with Vodafone and Airtel, the two largest GSM mobile operators in the country, will provide more and more Indian consumers easy access to paid content on the Nokia Store.

He continued to add, “This is also a significant step for our developer partners. Nokia Store is a great way to reach millions of consumers. Our growing eco-system of partners for India billing helps accelerate monetization and offers a good opportunity to create and distribute local apps and content. It also marks the opening up of India as a market to publishers round the world. In-app billing and additional price points further enhance monetization opportunities.”

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