Optus unlocks access to paid Android apps

“We’re very happy to let all our Android customers know that you now have access to all paid apps in the Android Marketplace.”

That simple message which appeared shortly before noon today from Optus’ official Twitter account (@Optus) brought sighs of relief yelps of delight and a few cries of “Too late I already switched carriers” from Australia’s Android fans.

As APC first reported in November last year Optus was blocking access to paid apps in the Android Marketplace.

This applied not only to phones held on contract through Optus but to customers who had bought their own handsets for use on the Optus network along with customers of the carrier’s resellers such as Virgin Mobile and TPG.

That changed as of today with customers of Optus and its ‘virtual mobile network operator’ (VMNO) partners now being able to browse and buy paid apps for their Android phone.

It’s perhaps far from coincidence that Optus is tipped to be preparing for a significant push for the open-source smartphone platform.

Next Tuesday sees Motorola holding a launch for one or more Android phones featuring the company’s MotoBLUR social networking UI and Optus is said to be the exclusive carrier for these in the same way that Telstra snagged launch rights to the HTC Desire.

There are also persistent rumours that Optus is readying an Aussie launch for Google’s own Nexus One smartphone.