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Mobile Apps

All-you-can-download subscription model for apps debuts in Vietnam

Opera Software and Vietnamese service provider Vinaphone join forces to bring a subscription model for app purchases to the country.

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The Opera Subscription Mobile Store interface. Opera Software

If you're a heavy app user in Vietnam, it's about to be much cheaper to download a plethora of premium apps, thanks to the new all-you-can-eat subscription model from Opera Software and mobile operator Vinaphone.

Announced today in a press release from Opera, the new plan lets Vinaphone users who sign on pay a small weekly fee that entitles them to download a variety of premium apps and games from the Opera Subscription Mobile Store.

The all-you-can-eat subscription model costs VND15,000 (70 cents) per week, giving subscribers unlimited downloads across a large variety of paid and premium apps. Opera's unconventional pay model has been available in select countries since late 2014 and is available for Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Java operating systems.

To subscribe to the plan, Vinaphone users can simply send a text message reading "DK UD" to the number 1556, or they can confirm their subscription online at Vinaphone's AppMarket site. The first week of subscription is free, giving people a chance to try out the service. The subscription renews automatically every week and can be cancelled anytime.

The subscription also bypasses the need for credit cards to pay for apps, which is a standard practice for many app stores.

"Downloading and purchasing premium apps and games just became much easier and more affordable in Vietnam," said Viet Anh Nguyen, country manager of Vietnam at Opera Software. "Consumers now have the option to download premium apps without needing credit cards, directly from their operator's storefront."

For this particular payment model, Opera will handle the administrative backend and operations on behalf of Vinaphone. This includes rotating the app selection in the app store on a regular basis, as newer creations by up-and-coming Vietnamese app developers are added each week.

"We also hope that this model can provide increased marketing and monetization opportunities for both Vietnamese app developers and operators," said Viet.

The new deal between Vinaphone and Opera means the Vietnamese service provider's customers will now have access to approximately 300,000 apps and games. As of September 2014, 33 million people in Vietnam use a smartphone, with a growing app development scene for games -- such as the viral Flappy Bird by Hanoi creator Nguyen Ha Dong.