Operator billing for the Ovi Store was introduced in India for the first time yesterday by a joint announcement made by Nokia and Reliance Mobile. The obvious upside is that if you are a Reliance customer, you can now choose to pay for your app downloads monthly as part of your bill or have the price deducted from your balance if you own a prepaid (PAYG) connection.
Another major upside is the fact that the app prices for India are much cheaper than the prevailing global rates. For example, Gravity in India sells for Rs. 150 which is just over 3$ compared to the 10$ international price, a discount of a little less than 70%.
Similarly Angry Birds sells for just Rs. 50, compared to the 3$ global price which translates to about Rs. 136.
While the description on the Angry Birds page mentions a 33% sale, most applications and games are cheaper by quite a bit despite there being no sale. Another example is Battery Extender which is priced in India at Rs. 99, again cheaper compared to the global listings.
From a general glance, prices seem to be lower by upto 65-70%, which should serve as quite a motivation to buy more apps. There is however one major problem. The operator billing is exclusive to Reliance till March 31st, which means users on all other networks are left without access to paid apps as they are simply not listed for them, so obviously there is no option to pay by credit card anymore.
Nokia is believed to be working with other operators and credit card companies to iron things out, but there is no word on when things will be back to normal. One reason floating around for this problem is that Nokia cannot have different prices for apps on one operator and the more expensive listing everywhere else. So till then if you really need your app fix, grab a super cheap prepaid Reliance SIM and get downloading. May be that was Reliance’s big !dea anyway!