Browser company Opera Software has partnered with seven Indian mobile manufacturers to preload the Opera Mini mobile browser on the upcoming Android-based handsets, phablets and tablets from these manufacturers. Among its partners include Celkon, Karbonn, Lava Mobiles, Intex, Fly Mobiles, Zen Mobiles and HCL ME tablets.

Opera informed that Opera Mini will be the exclusive third party browser pre-loaded on all Android devices by Celkon, Karbonn, Lava and Intex, while the browser will also be bundled with select Fly Mobiles, Zen Mobiles and HCL ME Tablets. The deal period or the financial details of this partnership were not disclosed.

For the uninitiated, Opera Mini claims to compress webpages by 90%, thereby minimizing the data usage and saving data costs on mobile phones for the users. Apart from that, it also offers features such as Speed Dial, tabbed browsing, password manager and social media integration among others.

How this deal helps Opera

While Opera Mini browser can be installed separately by users, pre-installing the app on the device bring greater visibility to it. Opera had similar deal with select Nokia handsets in the past. For instance, my Nokia 2690 is preloaded with Opera Mini as the default browser. Note that Nokia now has its own browser called Xpress browser that works on similar technology and fetches compressed data from Nokia’s servers instead of loading heavy webpages on its feature phones.

However, the Indian market is getting warmed up to Android handsets, so we believe it makes sense for Opera to sign up a deal with local Android OEMs. Although, we are quite surprised that the list does not include Micromax, considering it is one of the most popular handset maker in the country.

Besides this, Opera monetizes by inking deals with search providers like Google, wherein it generates revenue from usage by making it the default search engine for the browser. By being a means of access for service providers (search engines and content companies), browsers are able to monetize their free-to-download offerings. Opera also offers deals on speed dial buttons. It had inked a deal with Hungama and Buongiorno for a placement earlier and has previously featured Cricbuzz, Vuclip, bfish, Gmail and Google News among others.

Although Opera declines to comment on these individual deals, but it had indicated that there are various models for such deals like monthly basis payment and user type based payment, but it differs from deal to deal.

Deals With Telcos

In February 2012, Opera had partnered with Idea Cellular to offer a customized Opera Mini mobile web browser to its subscribers across India. A co-branded version of the browser was made available for Idea subscribers by March 2012. Opera had earlier inked a similar deal with Vodafone to push its browser in India, South Africa, Turkey, Tanzania and Egypt. It had also signed deals with Tata Indicom and MTS.

More recently, Opera had partnered with Bharti Airtel to launch Opera Web Pass for Airtel customers in India. The Opera Web Pass offers Airtel users a pay-as-you-go mobile Internet subscription service on hourly basis. During the Opera’s 300 million user meetup, Opera had also informed MediaNama that Opera Web Pass to access social networking sites, cricket sites, among others would be launched in the future.