Interview With Sanjay Uppal President & COO OnMobile

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Interview With Sanjay Uppal President & COO OnMobile
Sanjay Uppal President & COO

Recently Telecom Talk went behind the scenes to have an exclusive ‘talk’ with Mr. Sanjay Uppal President and COO of OnMobile Global. On the Latest RBT innovation by OnMobile “SOCIAL RBT” and other driving factors of the Leading Indian Telecom VAS provider.

OnMobile had recently bagged “Winner of Star SME awards, Business Standard, 2010” and has a sum of 352 billion Unique users in their account.

TT: With more innovation on CRBT how much percentage increase in CRBT-revenue is On Mobile looking forward and on what parameters.

Sanjay Uppal: RBT is the most popular value added services in the mobile space today. In fact, over 250 million songs were downloaded on OnMobile’s RBT platform in 2009, a 55 per cent increase from the previous year.

By virtue of being handset independent, RBT can be accessed by 100 per cent of the mobile subscriber base, and OnMobile believes there is still tremendous scope for growth. This will be driven by innovations that offer consumers variants of RBT that appeal to the tastes of different user groups.

For example, OnMobile’s consumer research indicates that 23 per cent of users don’t use RBT since they don’t want to pay for something they do not want to hear. To address this, we launched Reverse RBT in the market.

Similarly, Social RBT integrates ringback tones with social networks, offering users a new platform to share their musical preferences. Not only is this beneficial to consumers, but also increases adoption since users are likely to change their RBT when they see that their friends have changed theirs.

With these innovations, we are taking RBT to new consumer segments and increasing adoption among the existing user base, thus driving growth in RBT revenue.

TT: Recently we heard OnMobile has come up with Reverse CRBT, what is your take on the subject when a Reverse CRBT subscriber is calling to existing RBT user isn’t it denial of service for the later?

Sanjay Uppal: With the introduction of reverse RBT, we are offering users the experience to listen to their choice of music or information – from international and Indian songs to news and jokes – while waiting for their call to be answered. Subscribers can set ringback tone of their choice, rather than the traditional ringing tone or even a song set by the called party. Reverse RBT is a handset-independent service that taps into the desire of consumers for greater control and freedom over the content they consume, using handsets of their choice.

Additionally, research indicates that approximately 23% of all callers don’t set RBT since they don’t want to pay for something they don’t hear. Therefore, Reverse RBT is intended to capture this segment of the market which does not subscribe to RBT. Operators can use this as a communication channel to play information for subscribers. They can also sell place ads and sell other subscription packs in this real estate.

TT: Can you please detail us about Social CRBT, the new innovation by OnMobile and the technology driving the same?

Sanjay Uppal: With over 49 million Indian users on social networking sites, the need to connect has never been more apparent. While consumers connect and share information and their lives through social networking sites, there’s a much closer network that we are in touch with – the people we engage with and speak to on a day-to-day basis, through our phones. In fact, even before we speak, we have a subtle influence on them through our ringback tones.

While social networking is growing, it has until now been restricted to users who have access to computers/smartphones and regular internet connectivity. The other half of the Indian population now has an opportunity to share updates to a much closer circle of friends and associates – through the social ringback tone.

Social RBT is a unique service that changes the way users search for, listen to and share music. Social RBT not only enables users to share songs with callers, but also allows them to share music and updates with friends on their web-based social networks. Song selection change notifications are sent to the user’s social graph, after analyzing the balance on the target customer’s phone. Social RBT offers users a viral platform to express themselves. Social RBT has the potential to not only increase consumer stickiness to the product, but also drive adoption among new users.

TT: CRBT has been the key IVR-VAS product for OnMobile, what kind of products in 3G-VAS is OnMobile targeting to maintain the stride of VAS leader.

Sanjay Uppal: As mentioned earlier, OnMobile witnessed over 250 million song downloads on our RBT platform in 2009, an indicator of our leadership position in this segment. To address the section of the market that owns high-end handsets and has good data speeds, we have the downloadable RBT widget. Also, products such as Social RBT are optimally used in a 3G environment.

However, 3G will allow us to offer not just RBT but several of our other products as well. In fact, 90 per cent of our product line can be optimized for 3G.  OnMobile is the leader in mobile VAS in India, and we will build on our leadership position even in the 3G era by leveraging its three significant benefits – on-demand access to content, higher speeds and more variety of multimedia content. Our data products unit has already come out with several innovations in this space for example Social Address Book or Phonebook 2.0.

Social Address Book centralizes contacts across the Web, social sites, and the mobile phone enabling the users to update statuses once and have it reflected across all social sites. It is an integrated platform that brings that brings the real social network which is the phonebook closer to the users. Mobile phone subscribers can now create profiles, make friends, create and participate in chat rooms, hold private conversations, share photos and videos, share blogs and do much more from their phones.

However, in India, voice will still play a big role due to handset limitations. The majority of the Indian market is still extremely cost and value conscious, using low-mid-range handsets. The real impact will be seen once 3G is available on less expensive phones.

TT: What are the new target markets & areas that OnMobile is seeking expansion to?

Sanjay Uppal: Apart from India, our recent win of Telefonica as a customer has helped us expand into 13 Latin American countries. We are also aggressively rolling out in Europe, Africa apart from our success in the APAC market. The United States is also a significant target market for us.

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