BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) is in talks with all major Indian carriers to enable users to pay for apps in their monthly cellphone bill. The news was revealed by Sunil Dutt, Managing Director, RIM India during the inauguration of its premium store in Kolkata. The company hopes to introduce this facility by the end of this year, pending regulatory approvals, the Hindu Business Line reports. Also Read - Former BlackBerry India head Sunil Dutt joins Reliance Jio Infocomm: ReportAlso Read - BlackBerry India's MD Sunil Dutt resigns
We are in discussions with telcos and you might see us introduce a carrier billing model for app purchases by the end of this year. There are some regulatory issues on the telecom operators part that has to be resolved first, Dutt told the publication. Also Read - RIM could further slash prices of BlackBerry smartphones in India: Report
Earlier Nokia had tied up for carrier billing with Airtel, Vodafone and RCom for its Ovi Store. RCom had partnered with Google to become the official carrier partner for Android devices. The two-year deal, which was announced this April, ensured that every Google branded Android smartphone would get 1GB of free 3G data for the first month with an RCom connection. The plan was to introduce carrier billing for Android apps but that has not materialized, yet.
The biggest challenge for companies like Apple, Google, Nokia, Microsoft and RIM is the low penetration of credit cards in India, which is one of the biggest cellphone markets. India has 0.02 credit card per person or just two credit cards per 100 people and almost all platforms require a credit card to buy paid apps.
However, it remains to be seen how many people are willing to spend money to buy paid apps. According to many high-profile app developers we have spoken to in the past, Indian users are not that willing to pay for apps. However, they do not mind if the apps pay for themselves using embedded advertisements, which has given rise to freemium ad-supported model for app developers. Even a high profile game like Angry Birds was first launched with ad-support when it came on Android, while it was a paid game on iOS.
Nevertheless, if RIM is able to crack the carrier billing model, it would be a matter of time before other platforms like Android and Windows Phone would come on board, which is always a good thing for users.