We will be out of the downturn in a year, says Mouli Raman, co-founder, OnMobile

16 Jul, 2013

Bangalore-based OnMobile Global Ltd, a white-labelled data and value added services (VAS) company, claims to be contributing to about 2-4 per cent of the operators' top-line revenues globally, with 100-150 million users utilising its systems monthly. A VAS firm for mobile, landline and media service providers, OnMobile provides services across 59 countries, offering an array of products in mobile entertainment, search and discovery, data services and mobile social networking. Talking to techcircle.in, Mouli Raman, co-founder and CEO, OnMobile, said global operations contribute about 65 per cent of the firm's total business. However, the company has been seeing sluggish growth in the Indian market for some time now.

While the company's international revenues shot up by 55.1 per cent to Rs 440.9 crore in FY13, revenues from India dipped by 19.6 per cent to Rs 284.5 crore.

However, Raman is hopeful that market conditions in the country will change in a year. "In about a year or so it should be possible for us to come out of the current downturn in the Indian market. There should be an uptake from the consumer's standpoint," Raman said. He said the whole telecom industry has been going through a rough patch. "Outside India, the business is doing extremely well though. We are seeing a significant progress and possibility of growth in Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America," he said.

'There is lack of trust among consumers'

According to Raman, there are two reasons for the downturn in the Indian telecom market. First, while demand is pretty high from consumers, there is a certain lack of trust. "Over a period of time, there have some excesses in marketing which have resulted in consumers not coming forward to use the services," he said. Second, the ecosystem is not very open and flexible. In the Indian market, it is not very easy for service providers to develop and deploy services and in the process people lose interest. "It is not easy for somebody who wants to provide services to deploy services. We believe these two factors will begin to change in a year or so," Raman said, while speaking at the VAS Asia 2013, a conference and exhibition for telecom products, equipment and the supplies industry, held in Gurgaon recently.

New services

Talking about the new services the firm is planning to develop for the Indian market, Raman said it is looking at multiple categories. Apart from entertainment, OnMobile—which has offices in London, Madrid, Silicon Valley, Miami, Seattle and Paris—is looking at targeting the non-data segment. "We are looking at a host of services for non-data segment such as health, education and more. We have also started these initiatives with governments to make citizen-centric services available," Raman said. The company, which has over 1,600 employees worldwide, recently tied up with the Karnataka government to launch mobile governance services in the state. The initiative is intended to enable citizen-oriented services on mobile through an integrated mobile-enabled service delivery system.

TRAI regulations

Talking about TRAI's new guidelines for VAS players, Raman said they will be beneficial for the whole ecosystem in the long run. He said the regulations will affect the industry in the short term—there will be a dip in revenues. But in the long term, they are in the interest of consumers and the industry. "All this will result it consumers having more trust in the services," he said.