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At TiEcon2008: On OnMobile, Nokia And Entry Barriers; What They Said, Didn’t Say, And What Can Change The Game

What they said Cutting a deal with an operator is difficult Arvind Rao, CEO of OnMobile: In the telco space, winning your first customer is the most difficult thing. Telcos aren't dinosaurs, but they're very very complex entities to deal with - they're risk averse. They'll say 'go deploy with someone else show me it works, and consumers want it.' It's a chicken and egg problem. You'll have to wheel, deal, do anything to get your first customer, but be fair and cut a deal that you can renegotiate at a later point. We had access to all the operators through our VC contacts, but we couldn't get a break. Scale is an issue, and we've already have the distribution, revenue model, and access to the consumer Arvind Rao: We have our platforms installed in almost all operators in India. We are migrating to a point of opening the platform, and launching the OnMobile Developer Platform. Entrepreneurs can create companies and application, and wont need to go through the hassle of negotiating with operators, discussing commercials and integrating with such huge systems. You can't manage with 20-25 people - for managing telcos, you need Industrial strength. A telco sent us such a team to us - they liked the technology and didn't want to deploy, so they asked OnMobile to deploy. We liked the technology, and decided to buy them. So the thing you have to think about is "Why am I doing this? Am I looking to build an…

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