Yesterday, developers at the Nokia X Portathon, held at the iDEA Hub, were given this piece of good news – Nokia will offer developers who port their Android apps to the Nokia X platform 70% revenue share. Currently, there is no similar service that generous to Nigerian developers. Even more interesting is the fact that Nokia’s In-App Payment feature uses single-click operator billing. Currently Nokia has billing agreements with over 160 operators across 63 markets worldwide. Operator billing arrangements are all but sealed with the 4 major Mobile Networks Operators in Nigeria and will be fully functional by Q2, 2014. Why is this good news for Nigerian developers?
First, if you already develop apps for the Android platform you’re aware of the monetization challenges Nigerian developers face. Currently, you can’t monetize apps on the Google Play store from Nigeria. You have to get someone to handle that from abroad. Consequently, you don’t get your payments directly and promptly, as you’re forced to use foreign bank accounts. Some developers have tried to overcome this by implementing SMS billing but, the revenue shares are ridiculous.
Second, even with the work around described above, Nigeria is very similar to other emerging markets where credit card penetration and adoption is low. Not enough Nigerians are quite acquainted with using card payment solutions, largely stemming from lack of awareness, but mostly because of trust issues. eCommerce services know this, which is why they accept payment on delivery.
Nokia’s operator billing model provides a hassle-free alternative. Users will be charged through a payment channel they are already comfortable with – mobile recharge. Prices are displayed in local currency and payments deducted by the MNOs directly from available airtime balance. This eliminates the need for credit/debit cards. And Developers receive settlements directly in their domiciliary accounts.
This is not something experimental, it is a model that is already working. Nokia is just making it more lucrative. I have a non-tech savvy aunt who is addicted to buying games on her Asha device. Games that cost her between N100 and N500 via SMS billing. We techies have little or no issues paying for stuff with our cards on the Google Play store – I’ve used mine dozens of times – but we’re just in the minority. You’ll have a though time convincing the average Nigerian to leave their card details in the care of Google.
Nigerian Android developers seriously have nothing to lose developing for, or porting their apps to, the Nokia X platform.