Voda joins app store wars with smart pipe approach

The world’s biggest carrier by revenues, Vodafone, issued a rallying call to developers on Tuesday, promising mobile app builders a dedicated channel to market and a billing system for their services.

In what sounds very much like an operator run app store approach, Vodafone, which will clarify its strategy later on Tuesday, said that developers will only need to create internet applications once in order to reach millions of Vodafone customers on any device.

One of the benefits to this ‘smart pipe’ approach is that application developers will be able to charge for their apps and services directly through Vodafone’s own billing system. Of course, this means Voda can also cream off a share of the revenues, as well begin to monetise network assets such as location.

Vodafone said it will provide developers with customer-controlled access to network capabilities such as location awareness, enabling them to create more innovative mobile internet services and applications. recently spoke to Simon Buckingham, CEO of content specialist mobile streams and US-based location firm Zoombak, who described the kind of move being made by Vodafone as essential in a mature industry on the way to commoditisation. “Operators can no longer rely on their old business models where voice, text and roaming were charged at a significant premium. Those business models are end of life now. Operators need to recognise that they have to embrace innovation. And the thing that they have that nobody else has, is control over access to location information. This is the time to make that information available; if they don’t do it now their relevance is going to diminish,” he said.

Vodafone will make its enhancements through the creation of a set of network Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which will provide a link between the applications and the Vodafone network capabilities and will work across the entire Vodafone footprint thanks to a new layer of management technology based on Service Oriented Architecture.

The company will offer access to selected network enablers through the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) initiative, which is due to release a website and a Software Developer Kit in the summer.

The move will be accompanied by a framework to provide customers with transparency and control over how their information is accessed and used, the operator said.


  1. Avatar AppDev 12/05/2009 @ 1:25 pm

    Vodafone had something they called “Via Vodafone” some years ago which did pretty much what they now want to do again – that was just a waste of everyones time.

  2. Avatar Peter 13/05/2009 @ 7:58 pm

    Is this similar to the iPhone Apps store and the Android Market type of platform?

    Is this part of VDF’s NOW+ structure?

    VDF seems out smart than other mobile operator in this area.

    VDF is eye on channeling, but will this a kind of accross the line on VDF customer personal confidential?

  3. Pingback: Teknovis » Vodafone Application Store

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