In a European first, the channel offers a selection of Vodafone services as well as services and apps from Vodafone's content partners. Through the channel, Vodafone will often offer the content on an exclusive basis, for free or at a discount to entice customers.
The Android Market Vodafone channel is available now in the U.K., Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. It will soon be launched in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Interestingly, the arrangement with the Android Market does not involve carrier billing. Vodafone has only enabled carrier billing with BlackBerry for the Blackberry App World app store. (See Carrier Billing Coming to Android.)
Why this matters
This is the first time in Europe that a mobile operator has launched its own content channel in Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android Market. Vodafone's move is also an acknowledgement of how important the Android Market can be as a distribution channel for an operator's own apps and services. It also highlights the role an operator can play in mobile app discovery -- that is, helping customers to find the apps they want without being overwhelmed by thousands of choices.
Discovery is not the only area in which operators are trying to help in mobile apps.
- WAC Leading Telcos to Digital App Success
- Orange, DT Get Customized Ovi Stores
- Microsoft Gives Telefónica an Apps Edge
- Telefonica Shows Developers the Money
- Smart Success for WAC
- Wholesale Changes for the Mobile App Ecosystem?
- Talking Smack on the WAC
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile