Anyone who is a customer of Vodafone can now buy Google Apps, in particular Android apps, and pay for them when they pay their phone bill.
I believe, in order to access this service, customers in the UK and Germany will have to sign up to Google Marketplace. Once they join they can choose between adding the cost of any apps bought to be added to their monthly telephone bill, or if they are pre-pay customers, have it deducted from their balance.
Vodafone has for sometime been trying to get involved with the phenomenal application market. Until now, the company has struggled, but this new system seems an eminently sensible and simple one to operate.
It is also a useful service for consumers that do not have a credit card.
What does Google get out of the relationship?
Quite simply it gets potential customers, who otherwise would not visit the Google Marketplace. They may previously have gone to the likes of Amazon instead.
Vodafone’s own excursion into this lucrative market started last month when they offered its own Android Marketplace. The site’s visitors were offered Vodafone’s top 25 recommendations. This new relationship with Google seems to be taking Vodafone into new territory. What is more, since it is the first network company to do this sort of thing, it could reap the benefits very quickly leaving the opposition behind.
However, I would not be surprised if the other network operators follow suit.