Nokia has announced that it has signed an agreement with VimpelCom Ltd, a global provider of telecommunications services (reportedly the 6th largest mobile operator in the world). The partnership will deliver a new way for consumers to enjoy digital entertainment in the Windows Phone Store, and is also being backed by Microsoft.
VimpelCom has said that consumers who are subscribers on the mobile network will be able to use their phone bills as a payment gateway, much like what we're seeing with some mobile operators already. Instead of using a credit card, customers will also be able to add the cost of a game or app to a monthly bill or have it deducted from prepaid credit.
Nokia is a leading brand in many of VimpelCom's markets, which provides a strong platform for the mobile operator to offer an enhanced mobile experience when using an app store to purchase content from developers. The company will also provide a dedicated "VimpelCom Shelf", which will make it easy for VimpelCom customers to navigate their way through the content available in the Windows Phone Store.
Available via the local Windows Phone Store, the "VimpelCom Shelf" will feature up to 200 selected applications, tailored to offer local content and services. Pretty neat addition for consumers who are subscribed to the network. Mikhail Gerchuk, VimpelCom's Group Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer, had the following to say on the deal:
"The Windows Phone mobile partnership will enable us to significantly enhance the smartphone experience for our customers. With the 'VimpelCom Shelf' we will bring tailored content to VimpelCom customers around the globe who use Windows Phone smartphones and will provide them with the most convenient way to access and pay for apps. In many of our markets we will be the first operator to launch mobile account payments for the Windows Phone Store."
It's expected that VimpelCom will roll out carrier billing and the new "VimpelCom Shelf" later this year.