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Opera launches App Pass to get emerging markets on mobile data

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Opera Software has announced the App Pass, which is designed to give mobile subscribers free-of-charge access to selected apps for a set period of time. As a feature of Opera Max, an app designed for mobile data saving and management, the App Pass is targeted at emerging markets to encourage more mobile data usage.

According to Opera, many subscribers in developing markets have been put off from using mobile data due to the cost, but also because of “confusing user experience”, as the vendor put it.

Norwegian Telenor will be the first operator to offer the App Pass, and it will test it out in some of its Asian markets. “We’re excited to partner once again with Telenor Digital to innovate in how mobile data is packaged and offered to consumers,” Opera CEO Lars Boilesen said.

“App Pass builds upon Opera’s achievements with Opera Web Pass and Sponsored Web Pass in making mobile data affordable and easy to use for end users. With App Pass, consumers can enjoy their favourite apps and try out new ones with just two clicks, using the Opera Max client already on their devices.”

It seems the idea is to give people free access to different apps for a limited time to get them hooked and more willing to pay for mobile data in the future. Opera said the app gives users the opportunity to get a “first-hand, low-risk understanding of the internet.”

“We’re eager to see how this service is received in our markets,” Rolv-Erik Spilling, Head of Telenor Digital said. “App Pass is designed to give customers easy control over costs related to data usage. The challenge of so-called ‘bill shock’ is high on our agenda, and these kinds of initiatives from Opera play an important part in addressing the issue.”

Opera Max was first launched last year, and is available for download on Google Play. Opera said it uses video and data compression technologies to boost subscriber’s data bundle by up to 50%, while enabling operators to offer subsidised app passes. The mobile software firm said sponsored and paid app passes will also be launched shortly.


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