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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

Mobile VAS Startups?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If you are looking at the Mobile VAS space aggressively, here's some food for thought. The Operator's in India are not really hungry for Mobile VAS right now. They are more focussed in trying to expand their customer base and Mobile VAS is secondary right now. This point had come up fleetingly once during one of our MoMo events. Kiran makes better case out of it.

Couple this with 80-20 factor: 80 % of revenue for the operators, 20 % for the content providers. If you think you are a better bargainer, think again. With the Operator's mind elsewhere, they would just walk away from the table. The result, you have to settle for less. There are also a host of technical challenges to overcome as well related to the incompatible mobile platforms. Its almost impossible to build a cross platform mobile application today.

But if you are doing the rounds of the TiE CON's, you would know that its Mobile all the way. The VC and Entrepreneur community both are agree on one thing: the Mobile is the platform of the future and in India presents lots of opportunities. There have been some high profile investments in that segments as well: OnMobile, PayMate, JiGrahak, July Systems etc. Did the VC's get it wrong then?

The answer depends upon what you think is the gestation period for a VAS startup. In few years the user base growth will hit a plateau and the focus of the Operators will shift. The ARPU will become a major headache and Operators will be in a more listening mood. So if you time your startup to be at the right place at the right time, you are a game.

As they say, timing is everything!

posted by Rajiv, 5:05 AM


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