Australian Operator Optus Deliberately Blocking Android Paid Apps

from the it-wants-a-cut,-apparently dept

A few folks have sent in the news that Australian mobile operator Optus appears to be completely blocking access to paid apps for owners of Android phones. Apparently people have been complaining about this for a while, and Optus has been mostly silent on the matter, only stating:
"Optus is currently working with Google to provide an Android application store to our customers, and we are optimistic it will be available soon."
Except, of course, it shouldn't require any permission from Optus at all -- which is leading to reasoned speculation that Optus is blocking access to paid apps in the Android app store because Optus wants a cut of the revenue. This is typical of mobile carriers who keep wanting to believe that they're the tollbooth everyone needs to pay. Instead, the more likely result is just to drive mobile phone users to other carriers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 7:23am

    So, is there another wireless carrier in Australia without greedy restrictions? if so I would defiantly switch if I had to deal with that. Fight back, Australia!

     

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  2.  
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    Brendan (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 8:01am

    So does Rogers, in Canada

    Rogers does this in Canada, too, I think. At least that was the case when I got my phone back in June.

    I have since rooted the phone and cleared off their garbage version of the OS, and enabled paid apps on my own. I have no idea if Rogers has enabled them for the "typical" consumer.

     

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  3.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 8:15am

    Kool-aid! Get your Kool-aid here! $0.25/cup!

    Instead, the more likely result is just to drive mobile phone users to other carriers.
    What other carrier? Are you trying to convince us these carriers have differing plans with differing prices without the same restrictions?

    I've yet to see a single one anywhere *in the world*.

    Who needs a damn monopoly when price fixing is much more lucrative except to the consumer.

     

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  4.  
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    Jason Delport, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Profits

    Google doesn't earn anything from the Android Market (all profits go to the developer/carrier) so maybe Optus are waiting for carrier billing to be in place before launching the paid apps?

    http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2008/10/android-market-now-available-for-users.html

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 8:25am

    "This is typical of mobile carriers who keep wanting to believe that ... everyone needs to pay."

    And if they can prevent access to the app's unless layment is recieved they would be right !. That's the way America works also.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Jason Nelson, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Net Neutrality

    I don't know how much of it is tollbooth related vs. not giving Google what it wants: net neutrality.

    Let's be clear, Google ain't just sellin' ring tones -- they're bringing a platform that includes everything in a mobile carriers infrastructure less the cellular network. And on behalf of their shareholders, a wireless carrier ain't just tryin' to be a dumb pipe -- there's little growth in that.

    And Google is an Advertising company which happens to be a key component of mobile commerce. Further, there has been aggressive competition and positioning in the mobile commerce space for a better part of a decade (who would know?), and mobile carriers have been, rightly or wrongly, counting on a slice of the pie.

    That makes Google a potential competitor without touching Google Voice.

    Let's be clear, I'm no fan of wireless cartels and their artificial markets. But I'm not sure I'd be so quick to allow Google unfettered access to "my" customers at this time without rights to Sergey's firstborn and compromising photos of Larry: there's just too much uncertainty at the moment.

    And I think those of us focused on App store revenue are thinking way short-term; that's just a gate established by Apple, Google and others. With mainstream mobile computing taking off, in less than 10 years, mobile commerce will far exceed online-only advertising revenue.

     

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  7.  
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    faceless (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Net Neutrality

    that's the rub eh. they want to sell the hot new google phone, but fail to realize why people want to buy it.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Re: So does Rogers, in Canada

    Nope, still no paid apps unless we buy through SLideME or root our phones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    justayingthis, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 6:22am

    Net Neutrality

    "With mainstream mobile computing taking off, in less than 10 years, mobile commerce will far exceed online-only advertising revenue." .... and somehow you think this justifies blocking value and content, thwarting the market unless it develops exactly according to their strategic plan?

    One would think that the phone companies would be trying to innovate; for example, offering customers value that complements the paid apps. Instead they company is trying to tax the innovation of others.

    The choice is not "dumb pipe" versus "toll booth". The choice is "dumb pipe" versus "innovation".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    freethenet, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Google blocking Optus

    Lets look at what is happening:
    If I have an optus sim card in the phone, i CAN'T access the paid market over wifi. If i use an out of date prepaid vodafone sim I CAN access the paid market.

    Given I'm using wifi and not the mobile network one can only conclude that it is Google that is blocking optus customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    krouton, Dec 3rd, 2009 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Kool-aid! Get your Kool-aid here! $0.25/cup!

    yes there are other Telco's in Australia that do not block access to paid apps. Of course you don't realise this until you've signed up for 2 years

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Eveowner, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: So does Rogers, in Canada

    LG Eve - Cupcake 1.5 (can't root) on Rogers in Canada - cell radio off, wifi on connected to my home isp through my wireless network - STILL no paid apps on the market. Is it Rogers or Google that's treating us Canucks as second-class citizens??? Total BS!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    HeroGuy, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: So does Rogers, in Canada

    It's not a matter of the network you're accessing the market with - but of the phone's software itself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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