Nokia's Ovi Store moves to rupee payments in India

Nokia has tied up with a local mobile operator to offer downloads against rupee payments

Nokia has introduced rupee payments on its Ovi Store in India, in a bid to boost downloads from the store.

The facility is however currently available only to subscribers of Reliance Communications, India's second largest mobile operator, a Nokia spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Before the arrangement with Reliance, users in India could purchase on the Ovi Store only in foreign currencies, typically using international credit cards.

The two companies announced on Tuesday an integrated operator billing program around the Ovi Store. Users can pay for their downloads from the Ovi Store through Reliance. The payments will be either included in their monthly mobile phone bills or deducted from the pre-paid balance, depending on the data plan, the companies said.

Nokia is offering applications, games, and other downloads from the Ovi Store at prices from 25 rupees (US$0.55) to 500 rupees, lower than international prices, the spokeswoman said.

An upshot of this strategy is that it Nokia has stopped allowing subscribers to other Indian cellular networks to make purchases in foreign currencies. "We can't charge different prices to different users in India," the spokeswoman said. Users who are not on the Reliance network can however continue to download free applications and content on the store.

The new arrangement is exclusive to Reliance customers until March 31.

Nokia is already working with credit card companies and other Indian mobile operators to offer rupee payment and payment through operators to users who are not on Reliance's network, the spokeswoman said.

Nokia claims more than 4.5 million downloads a week in India.

The company does not offer music purchases in India through its music store. However, it runs a program, called Ovi Music Unlimited, which offers free and unlimited music downloads for one year to buyers of certain models of Nokia phones.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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