About 115 000 visitors have visited MTN apps@play, the IMImobile-powered MTN application store, since the pilot went live in July this year.

Since the start of the pilot, there has been 4 000 free downloads from over 16 000 free apps that are available on MTN apps@play which is hosted on MTN Play, the company’s online portal.

MTN apps@play is compatible with major operating systems such as Android, BlackBerry OS, Java, Symbian and Windows Mobile, making it relevant for the vast majority of data-capable cellphones and smartphones.

The pilot of MTN apps@play complements the apps development competition that MTN Group announced this year. The approved apps that are expected to emanate from that competition will be used to further populate MTN apps@play, thus giving MTN customers a rich variety of local content that will enhance their experience and improve the quality of their lives.

MTN apps@play offers a wide variety of apps in various categories, including entertainment, education, lifestyle, productivity, gaming and information.

Serame Taukobong, MTN South Africa’s chief marketing officer, comments: “We are pleased by the interest displayed by our customers in our MTN apps@play store. The test phase has given us the opportunity to refine and fine tune this service to ensure that it optimally meets and exceeds the expectations of our customers. Boasting a relationship of over 350 content providers globally, IMImobile’s extensive reach and the MTN apps@play local developer community – PlayLabs, will ensure that MTN customers tap into a vast network of rich, value adding content that will provide them an Ayoba experience.”

The commercial launch of the application store will be later this year, and the store is expected to host free apps, premium apps, paid for apps as well as sponsored apps that are compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps that will be hosted in the Apple application store.

Integral to this venture into apps development is the need to raise awareness and educate customers about this new apps phenomenal. To that end, MTN will educate the local market about applications and their value add and segment applications.

In a bid to reaffirm its commitment to being a catalyst of social change, MTN will launch Play Labs, an initiative that will foster a culture of innovation that will host a series of open apps forums to educate and equip individual developers with the necessary tools.

Mike Fairon, newly-appointed GM: product development at MTN South Africa, adds: “Adding applications to ones phone is like ‘customising your phone’. Education is critical to ensure familiarise themselves with the concept of adding applications to their phone to add to its functionality.”