Microsoft has partnered with Safaricom to introduce a service that allows customers to buy mobile phone applications using their airtime.
The Mobile Operator Billing services will target the growing number of Windows based smartphone users who previously had to pay through credit card for their applications.
"One of the contributing factors to the smart phones penetration has been the uptake of mobile apps that has transformed the way we interact however, users have had challenges in accessing the (paid) apps due to limited payment options," Kunle Awosika, Microsoft Kenya Country Manager.
The service will allow users to download apps from the Windows Phone Store and make payments using their mobile phones opening a reliable revenue channel for the developer community.
Peter Wasonga, a developer with 15 apps published in the Windows store, sees an opportunity for developers to get more revenue with the operator billing service.
"We are also likely to see development of more local apps which developers can charge because payment is now easier," says Wasonga.
To buy an app through mobile operator billing, a user will be required to go to the Windows Phone Store and select the application they would like to buy. The consumer will then be able to see the name of the app, the price, publisher, app size and payment method clearly displayed.
"Safaricom believes in supporting innovation and growing local entrepreneurs, we are aware that a majority of Kenyan tech start-ups have challenges in developing and showcasing their apps, this platform will go a long way in enhancing growth of paid-for mobile services," said Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore.
The uptake of mobile phone applications in Kenya has been greatly driven by the proliferation of smart mobile devices. In its 'Digital Entrepreneurship in Kenya 2014' report, the GSMA found that the potential for Kenya to become a leading hub for digital entrepreneurship is extraordinary.