Dropbox Does Carrier Deal To Be Preloaded On Handsets In Europe

With the consumer-facing cloud storage space getting ever more crowded — Apple announced its own iCloud Drive offering just last month — Dropbox has not been sitting on its laurels, waiting for its ~300 million customers to be lured away by rivals.

For one thing it’s been tooling up with lots of acquisitions (Predictive Edge, ParastructureDroptalk, to name three recent ones) to flesh out a more fully featured platform of its own.

Another path it’s evidently pursuing in a bid to survive the platform wars is partnerships. On that note, the company has just announced it’s teamed up with European carrier Deutsche Telekom to get its app preloaded on handsets in markets in Central and Eastern Europe starting in October.

It’s not clear exactly which markets (or Android handsets) Dropbox is going to be a preload for DK brands — Dropbox said its service will be preloaded “onto most” of Deutsche Telekom’s Android devices in “select Central and Eastern European countries” — but the carrier’s operational footprint includes Germany, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Austria, Albania, the F.Y.R.O. Macedonia, and Montenegro.

Deutsche Telekom reported 142.5 million mobile customers in total in its 2013 annual report.

The partnership also looks likely to involve promotion via DK portals to users with existing handsets — as Dropbox notes the deal will help “existing iOS and Android users discover Dropbox”.

Carrier preloads are the ‘growth hacking’ method of choice for large consumer-focused services wanting to swell even bigger. Messaging player WhatsApp, for instance, ploughed that furrow for years with huge success — given the ever swelling size of its user-base (and the hefty size of the eventual acquisition paycheck that came its way from Facebook, in no small part because of how many users it had been able to amass).

Carriers won’t partner with everyone, of course. They want brand names with enough pull to hook them new customers — reeling mobile users away from their own rivals. Dropbox, with its ~300 million users, obviously makes the cut.

Commenting on the deal in a statement, Marc Sommer, SVP of business development at DT, described Dropbox as an “industry-leading service”, adding: “[It] was an obvious addition to the services we offer. Dropbox’s intuitive interface and global popularity make it easy for everyone to see, share, and work on the photos, videos, and documents that matter to them.”