Mobile VAS company Tanla Solutions has launched TPAYmobile, an in-app billing service for developers of mobile games and apps. According to the company, the cross platform billing service gives developers access to 100 mobile networks for operator billings in addition to Credit and Debit card payments, globally.  The service is the upgraded (and apparently more open) version of its erstwhile product, License Manager, which has been deployed by Symantic, F-Secure, Nokia, Joikusoft, Netqin, among others and installed on more than 300 million handsets across 100 countries. In India, TPAYmobile allows billing for Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and MTNL.

The service supports payment models like in-app billing, try & buy, time bound licensing and subscriptions. The try & buy model lets developers give a time bound free access to consumers and later converting them into paying customers.  In-app billing, allows developers to charge customers for unlocking additional app features or buying additional content inside the application or even cross-sell their other products. It also intends to help developers fight piracy by integrating security and licensing features in their apps.

Things to Note:

– Developers can distribute apps through various channels including app stores, direct to consumers or handsets pre-embedding. TPAYmobile lets them track how the app is performing on each distribution channel. The service supports Symbian, Java, Windows Mobile and Android platforms.

– Tanla doesn’t charge a sign-up or monthly fee but takes a transaction fee on each sale made by the developer. Through the FAQ section on the site, we discovered, that in India, it allows operator billings for Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and MTNL and the operator payout is 20% (excluding 15% VAT). For credit card transactions, Tanla pays the net proceeds in the first week of the following month, and for transactions billed by Premium SMS (operator billing), the net proceeds are paid to developers in the first week of the sixth month. In an emailed response, a company spokesperson told MediaNama:

Tanla retains 10% of what we collect. In the case of credit/debit cards we collect 97% of the end user price less taxes. In the case of op (operator) billing it varies by country and operator, in the best case we collect 80% of the eup (end user price) less taxes and in the worst case we collect 30%. This is because operators retain a large percentage.

– We tried using the service and found it to be pretty straight-forward. The interface is like a dashboard allowing developers to add applications for different OS platforms, add and manage Sales Channels including Android Freeware,Nokia OVI, AppBrain, GetJar, Mobango and PocketGear, adding Business models and licensing options, and generate sales and revenue reports.

Monetizing apps is a big concern for app developers, as a majority of users don’t have or don’t like to use their credit or debit cards for buying apps. Micro-transaction methods like cash cards require a good distribution network and mobile operators take the major chunk of revenue when developers sell apps through their app stores. Handset manufacturers like Apple and Google have strict compliance rules and also take a share from in-app purchases. Google doesn’t even allow Indian developers to sell apps in the Android market.

Related
Tanla Still Makes Money From License Manager For Nokia’s Free Maps