BSNL App Store launched with 100K Apps

State owned telcom carrier in India, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.(BSNL), has launched its own Application Store. The app store meant for BSNL’s mobile subscribers (both 2G and 3G), across India, is named BSNL App Store and can be accessed through a link on the BSNL Live WAP Portal.

According to a draft meant for the Press, the BSNL App Store has been developed and managed by Accenture.

The BSNL App Store features about 100,000 or I Lakh apps , across categories such as include Social Networking, Games (multi-player, 3D, action, sports, racing, and puzzles), entertainment, utilities, music, cricket, sports, finance, books, education, religion, business, productivity, lifestyle, Bollywood, health and fitness, navigation, weather, news, Photography, travel, and others.

The apps are both free and paid. While a significant number of apps can be downloaded free ( 80% of the apps are paid, while the remaining 20% are free apps), others can be downloaded for a one time charge or on monthly, weekly or daily subscription basis. Once downloaded, a user can download the said paid app for free in future. The BSNL App store would have billing integrated with the operator, and hence the app purchases would not require a credit card – a user will buy apps right from his/her phone credit.

Regarding Data transfer charges, the charges will be as per the user’s data plan, in addition to the cost of the app.

One of the good things about the BSNL App Store is that it will offer J2ME apps for feature phones. The App store will offer 4,500 apps across 25 different categories including India specific religious and devotional apps, and will support 550+ devices.

BSNL, the fourth largest telcom carrier in India in terms of subscribers (95 million or 9.5 crore subscribers), has lost its market share to private players in recent years (even BSNL got 3G license in 2008, when private players got it in 2010). The much delayed entry of the state carrier in the Apps Store game as well, can be explained as Indian Government’s lack of will to run it profitably.

Since most of BSNL subscribers are in smaller towns and cities (tier 2 and 3 cities), the apps might be priced lower compared to other carriers’ Apps Stores.

NOTE: The BSNL App Store will not be available in Delhi, since BSNL’s services are not available in Delhi. --------

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