Mobile apps have gained in popularity especially since Apple’s launch of its App Store. The firm, considered a pioneer of this concept, has already clocked more than 3 billion downloads for its popular apps.
Most leading handset makers like Nokia have joined the fray. They all see huge business opportunity in this lucrative space. For example, BlackBerry’s app store, just a few months old, boasts of well over 4,000 apps; same is the case with Google’s Android. It has already touched the 20,000 apps mark.
Interestingly, the top mobile operators, nearly two dozen of them, are collaborating on the apps space. The members of this powerful alliance comprise SingTel, AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Telenor Group, Orange, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and Sprint. The logic behind the move is that mobile service providers have lost substantial revenues to handset makers because of independent developers being allowed to access their platforms.
According to research firm Gartner that tracks global IT & telecom industry trends, app stores amassed more than $4.2 billion in revenues globally last year. It suggests that the revenue would increase multifold by 2013, touching nearly $30 billion mark. App stores have clearly emerged as a lucrative revenue stream for developers and handset makers.
No surprise, top mobile firms like Vodafone Group and Bharti Airtel have joined in to leverage this space. The latter announced that its app store had gone live with over 1,200 applications. In fact, Bharti Airtel is the first telecom company from Indian to try replicate Apple’s hugely successful business model. Its CEO Sanjay Kapoor mentioned in an interview to The Economic Times that the Wholesale Applications Community looks to bring together a fragmented marketplace.
The aim is to create an open industry platform to benefit applications developers, network operators and of course, mobile phone users.