Vodafone goes global with Android billing, eyes deal with Microsoft

Vodafone announced a new deal with Google that will see its Android billing agreement extended to cover the mobile operator's worldwide operations.

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Vodafone says that it also wants to strike similar deals with other application storfronte providers, and has already held negotiations with Microsoft about its Windows Phone 7 platform.

Commenting on the move, Tobin Ireland, Vodafone's commercial development director, told Bloomberg in an interview that the company will focus on deals with existing app stores due to their "predominance," rather than build its own platform in partnership with other operators.

Vodafone unveiled plans last week to enable its UK and German subscribers to purchase Android apps using the operator's billing platform, but with Tobin now stating Vodafone, along with other major operators, has moved away over the past year from attempting to build its own app store and has focused instead on gaining revenues from the mobile data revenues these services generate.

Morten Singleton, an analyst at Investec Securities in London, told Bloomberg: "They [the operators] are rapidly appreciating that it is the basic connectivity and getting punters to pay up for the amount of data that they consume which is the real growth sector."

Vodafone, which already has app store billing agreements with Nokia and Blackberry maker Research In Motion in the UK, has seen the number of games and apps sold via the RIM store double in the last three months with than 70 per cent of sales coming from direct billing.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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