Mauj Mobile, the mobile VAS business which is a part of the the People Interactive group has acquired Mobango, a mobile applications and content store, which provides consumers with themes, videos, pictures, tunes, applications and games. You may not have heard of it before, but Mobango isn’t unknown in India: according to Opera’s State of the Mobile Web report in November 2009, Mobango was number 21 in India, among Opera Mini users in India. It has served up over 719.5 million downloads, at the time of filing this report, and it ticking over quite quickly.
What I find most interesting about Mobango is that it allows users to upload and store up to 2GB of files in the cloud: I assume that this would work as a significant reason-to-stay (maybe not exactly a lock-in) for its users, particularly given that users can access files cross Internet and Mobile, and also upload and edit or convert some of their files. Where this would work for mobile operators is that to access on the mobile – to upload or download your files or even apps and content from developers, one would end up using data as carriage. Data consumption is on the rise in India, and while telecom operators are looking to push data services (greater repeat usage, revenue from carriage), VAS companies will have to find data products and models to prepare for the data era.
And that is perhaps what would have attracted Mauj to Mobango, which, according to one industry source, had been looking for a buyer for a year. While in a released statement, Anupam Mittal, Founder and CEO, People Group, has said that Mobango “is a pioneer of the rapidly growing Pay Per Download (PPD) business model” there’s no indication of the ratio of pay-per-download to free applications and content on Mobango, and especially for India, though Mauj COO Badri Sanjeevi did tell tell TelecomYatra that around 80 million downloads a year come from India. Mobango, according to its terms and conditions, does not sell content, only allows developers to promote their applications across Mobango. Read Promote Terms & Conditions here.
I would expect Mauj to look for a GetJar-RCOM type of deal, rather than push a revenue share of download of paid applications – where’s the money in that, given the state of revenue shares? The other opportunity is that Mauj can look to promote its music related content (ringtones and CRBT) on an applications and content store which already has footfalls from India.
What would you do if…?
But, a question to leave you with – if you were Mauj and had paid large sums of money to license music content. What would you do if you found that some of your users had uploaded unlicensed copies of the same content on to storage owned by you? Would you let it pass, and retain the users, or warn and block them, and risk angering your community? What would you do?