First blood: It’s taken a long time coming, but Nokia has finally inked a telecom operator deal for billing for the Ovi Store in India: Reliance Communications has become the first telecom operator to come on board, Jasmeet Gandhi, Head Services Marketing, Nokia India confirmed to MediaNama via SMS. Until this deal was struck, Nokia only allowed Indian consumers to pay using their credit cards in India, in foreign currency, even though Indian users have been among the most active on the Ovi store. India is Nokia’s second largest market by volumes, the fact that in September 2010, Nokia had had integrated Ovi Store billings with 91 telecom operators worldwide, should give you  sense of how delayed this first telco deal in India is.

While we don’t have complete details yet, we expect that with this move, Reliance mobile subscribers will be able to download paid apps from the Ovi store without a credit card and the amount would be deducted from their prepaid balance or added to their monthly phone bill.

Testing With Other Operators? Vodafone, Perhaps

We tried using the Ovi store on a Series 40 Nokia X3-02 handset with a Reliance GSM connection in Delhi and found that paid apps were available and their prices were quoted in Rupees. When we tried using a Vodafone connection, the paid apps disappeared from the store. However,  Nitish Kumar, a Vodafone customer from Delhi tweeted about seeing paid apps on Ovi Store, which disappeared afterwards. He posted screenshots of the store with and without the paid apps. This indicates that other operators might also be testing integrated billing with Nokia.

The other question you have to ask here is – how does this deal translate into Windows Marketplace apps, once Nokia launches its first Windows Mobile phone in 2012?

More when we have more.

Related:
Nokia Ends Ovi Music Bundling In Most Markets; Launches Hindi Ovi Store
Nokia Integrates Ovi Store Billing With 91 Telcos; 60% Developer Rev Share, But Is it?
– India Among Most Active On Ovi Store, But Without Operator Billing