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Vodafone: in-bill app payment encourages downloads

Mobile operator lets Nokia,BlackBerry and Android users pay for apps via their bill

Smartphone owners that can pay for apps via their mobile phone bill download twice as many apps as those that use credit cards to pay for them, says Vodafone.

The mobile operator offers customers with Nokia and BlackBerry handsets the ability to pay for apps via their bill and recently revealed it was extending the function to those with smartphones running Google Android.

Furthermore, Vodafone said that since offering in-bill payment for BlckBerry apps, the network had seen a 70 percent surge in the number of paid-for apps purchased by users of these handsets.

Tobin Ireland, Vodafone's Group Commercial Development Director, told the Telegraph that paid-for apps for Apple iPhone are so popular thanks to the convenience of being able to pay via an iTunes account. At present the majority of Android apps are free, however this should "evolve" as Android smartphone owners get used to paying for apps.

"You can stimulate and shape ecosystems but you can't determine them," he said.

"But I would expect the Android Market, over time, to be rebalanced much more to what you see in the Apple App store".

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