State owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.(BSNL), has launched its own Application Store for its mobile subscribers(both 2G and 3G), across India. Dubbed as the BSNL Apps Store, it can be accessed through a link on the BSNL Live WAP Portal.
According to an internal circular and a draft press release from BSNL, the Apps Store has
been developed and is managed by Accenture and features upto 100,000 apps , across categories such as include Social Networking, Games (multi-player, 3D, action, sports, racing, and puzzles), entertainment, utilities, music, cricket, sports, finance, books, education, religion, business, productivity, lifestyle, Bollywood, health and fitness, navigation, weather, news, Photography, travel, and others.
The apps can be downloaded free, or for a one time charge or on monthly, weekly or daly subscription basis. The Apps Store will keep a record of previously downloaded or subscribed apps, allowing users to re-download apps that they’ve previously bought. As with most telco App Stores, billing would be integrated with the operator, and app purchases would not require a credit card. Data transfer charges will be as per the user’s data plan, in addition to the cost of the app. The release further mentions that 80% of the apps are paid, while the remaining 20% are free apps.
BSNL has also declared September as a free apps month, during which, it will offer the top-20 popular apps, free of charge.
It appears (at least from the FAQ section on BSNL’s website), that the App Store will offer J2ME apps for feature phones. Another report on Telecom Talk says that the Apps store will offer 4,500 apps across 25 different categories including India specific religious and devotional apps, and will support 550+ devices.
Although BSNL is a late entrant in the Apps Store game, it is the fourth largest telco in terms of subscribers with more than 95 million subscribers, and has reach in smaller cities and towns. However, the apps might be priced lower compared to other telco Apps Stores, since BSNL would targets subscribers in tier 2 and 3 cities, as well.
We have not been able to access the Apps Store, since BSNL’s services are not available in Delhi. Do give us a heads-up, and tell us about your experience if you’ve tried it.