India's second-largest mobile services provider, Reliance Communications, said on Tuesday that it will offer its subscribers free mobile applications from GetJar Networks' cross-platform application store.
App stores are getting popular with Indian mobile service providers, as they are trying to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) through the bundling of data and other value-added services along with standard voice plans, analysts said.
Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile services provider, launched its app store in February with over 1250 apps. About 25 percent of the apps are offered free. The company said a month later that it had 2.5 million downloads in 30 days, including from users of basic, no-frills phones.
Vodafone Essar, the Indian joint venture of Vodafone Group, opened its app store in March, offering free and paid applications.
Reliance said it aims to increase data traffic and adoption of its data plans, and will also sell other services through the use of free applications.
The company does not have a revenue-sharing arrangement with GetJar, a Reliance spokesman said. Instead, GetJar earns revenue from advertising served to Reliance's customers, for example through adv-supported applications, he said.
Reliance had 102 million subscribers at the end of March.
GetJar has seen 909 million downloads from its app store to date, with over 314,000 registered developers and 60,000 registered beta testers, according to its Web site. Its applications and games support over 2,000 devices.
Reliance plans tie-ups with other providers of apps, the company spokesman said. He would not comment on whether Reliance would later charge per app or offer a subscription. "Our strategy currently is to offer the applications free," he said.
The company is targeting the app store at professionals over 25 years old, who are expected to use the applications while commuting to work.