RIM, the Blackberry phone maker has confirmed that they are in talk with Indian mobile operators to introduce carrier billing for using Blackberry apps. This would mean that Blackberry users in India would soon be able to pay for apps in their monthly bills.
RIM India MD, Mr Sunil Dutt while announcing a Blackberry premium store in Kolkata confirmed this development and expressed hope that this facility would come to users by this year end. He stated “There are some regulatory issues on the telecom operators’ part that has to be resolved first”.
This is not the first time that a handset manufacturer is introducing carrier billing for its apps through mobile operators. Earlier Nokia had tied up with Vodafone, Airtel and Rcom for billing the apps in Ovi store. Similarly a two year deal was stuck between Rcom and Google in which Rcom became the official carrier for Android devices in India. Though as part of this agreement, Rcom was to start carrier billing for various Android apps, but it is still not implemented.
RIM as a manufacturer hopes that this would help them to have better means of recovering revenue from users for using various apps. In India the biggest problem manufacturers have is the low penetration of credit card, which limits the online purchase of apps unlike the Western markets. However, it is still a matter of concern as to how many Indian consumers are ready to pay for using apps. Historic data shows that Indian consumer prefer ad funded apps than paid apps.
We have to wait and see whether carrier billing could reverse this trend among Indian consumers to go in for using more free and ad funded apps than the paid ones.