Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator by revenue, plans to launch a store for games, news and travel applications that all its customers can buy, regardless of what model of phone they use.

In the latest such move by an operator in the wake of the runaway success of Apple's AppStore, Vodafone said on Tuesday content partners and developers would only need to create Web applications once to reach millions of customers.

They will be able to charge for it directly through Vodafone's billing system, and share revenues with Vodafone.

The world's leading mobile groups including Nokia, Microsoft Blackberry and others have raced to launch software stores this year after witnessing the success of Apple's service.

Apple's AppStore lets iPhone users download thousands of small software programs to personalize the way they play games, find directions and listen to music.

As phone makers and operators search for ways to stimulate demand and differentiate themselves in a saturated market, the value of software that is easy and inexpensive to access has proved popular.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)