Vodacom to launch mobile app store
Johannesburg - Mobile operator Vodacom on Friday announced the launch of a new mobile applications store, called Vodacom Apps.
The store would feature a catalogue of over 140 000 applications powered by Appia, an open application marketplace.
"This event marks the launch of what Vodacom believes will be an entirely new local South African mobile application ecosystem, complete with the development of home-grown talent and revenue opportunities," it said in a statement.
Vodacom Apps would support major mobile platforms including Android, Blackberry, Java, Symbian and Windows Mobile, making it relevant for the vast majority of data capable cellphones and smartphones.
The store would feature a wide variety of apps in various categories such as games, travel and entertainment, business and professional, work and school, and phone tools.
Pieter Uys, Vodacom chief executive officer said: "The launch of this app store is just the beginning. We're building an entire community that will supply home-grown apps relevant to the South African environment. With all the talent available in this country there's no reason we can't create our own application industry.
“The great part about this store is that it caters for so many users - in fact, more than 10 million cellphones on our network can run at least Java apps."
Vodacom Apps users would be able to download free apps, for which standard data charges will apply. In the near future, Vodacom would introduce paid-for apps which customers could pay for using their airtime account.
This meant that all Vodacom customers could use the store without the need for a credit or debit card.
All Vodacom customers wishing to access Vodacom Apps could do so from September 1 by simply visiting http://vodacom.mobi/apps on their cellphones or from the Apps feature on Vodafone live!
"Vodacom's commitment to supporting and further developing the South African apps market is being taken a step further today through an extensive Vodacom Developer Programme, launched in conjunction with the Vodacom Apps store," Uys added.
The Vodacom Developer Programme would provide the developer community with technical and commercial support, including training, workshops and innovation incentives over the coming months.
This would further stimulate the local development of apps by allowing developers to upload their own developed applications and generate revenue from this.
Rival group MTN said at the start of August that its App Store was "currently in the works".
The group told I-Net Bridge/BusinessLIVE at the start of July, that the launch date would be "much sooner" than the next six months, with an initial focus on SA, Nigeria and other markets where the group already had a strong presence.