Indonesian mobile operator Indosat has joined the expanding operator crowd in trying to tap into the growing app economy by developing its own app store.
With the launch of i-Aplikazone on Wednesday, the company said it expects to increase revenue from data users, the Jakarta Post reported. Indosat president director Alexander Rusli set the ambitious target of having all smartphone customers download the app, a move it hopes will attract more data users.
The app store has about 10,000 applications, of which more than 1,000 are in Indonesian, the Post said.
Indosat, which is 65 per cent owned by Ooredoo, is now the country’s second largest mobile player after recently edging out rival XL – Indosat has a 19.5 per cent market share vs XL’s 18.5 per cent, according to GSMA Intelligence.
Almost a third of Indosat’s 63 million subscribers are smartphone users.
Earlier in the year it said it expects data traffic to jump at least 50 per cent after completing a two-year network upgrade. The operator has devoted the majority of its annual capex budget of IDR8 trillion ($625 million) to the network modernisation programme, which focused on 23 of the country’s largest cities.
Number two player XL introduced its app store — Gudang Aplikasi – a year ago and said it has 2.3 million registered users in Q1. It has an estimated 22,000 apps.
XL’s data revenue increased 29 per cent year-on-year in Q1 and now accounts for almost a third of service revenue. Smartphone adoption increased 54 per cent to 17.2 million users, giving it a smartphone penetration rate of 33 per cent.
State-owned Telkomsel, the market leader with a 44 per cent market share, set up TemanDev in August 2013 to encourage local developers to create apps. It offers open APIs and organises local competitions, such as BestAppsID.
Two months ago South Korea’s three leading mobile operators met with mobile app developers to discuss setting up a joint app store called the One Store, which is scheduled to open in May. The three currently have their own app stores – Olleh Market (KT), T-Store (SK Telecom) and U+Store (LG Uplus).
Operator initiatives to create their own app stores and app-developer communities have not had much success.
Analysys Mason identified 30 operator-run application stores in Asia, the Middle East and Africa at the end of 2012 and only a handful of those had been successful.