UPDATED 10/2: Norway-based software company Opera launched a “Netflix-style” subscription service for premium Android apps called Opera Apps Club.
The company initially named Indian operator Idea as its first partner, although in the light of recent action by the regulator with regard to differential service pricing, Idea has withdrawn the offer.
Opera Apps Club gives users an unlimited ‘all you can download’ subscription offer, payable through operators’ billing systems.
Opera believes this will make apps accessible to users who would otherwise not have access to premium mobile apps, especially in emerging markets, where credit card and debit card penetration remains low.
Opera Apps Club can be “highly customised” for each operator’s audience.
The service is a result of Opera’s acquisition of Bemobi last year, which gave it a subscription-based mobile apps and games service in Latin America.
The service is live in 19 countries, in partnership with 34 wireless carriers and two smartphone OEMs in Brazil and Latin America, and will continue to roll out globally this year under the Opera banner.
“Opera Apps Club has been designed with high scalability in mind to accommodate future business growth,” says Pedro Ripper, CEO of Bemobi. “Leveraging Opera’s global footprint, we can deliver services that benefit end users, operators and app-developers, globally.”
With more than six million active subscribers, Opera Apps Club “provides an effective channel for developers, through which they can get their apps discovered and monetised across the globe. For carriers, it provides a highly engaging and relevant service they can offer to their users, as well as increased revenue over time,” the company said.
Last month, Vietnam’s largest mobile operator Viettel partnered with Opera to launch an app store that offers data subscribers unlimited downloads for VND10,000 ($0.45) per week.