Kudos Series – 10: Mobile Complete

August 4, 2007 12:47 am 0 comments

This is an inspiring success story about an innovative telecommunication company with connections to Pakistan. This post was originally written by Babar at State of Telecom in Pakistan blog. 

Mobile Complete is a mobile technology company focused on improving the user experience on mobile applications and services. Their products are being used to test, monitor and support mobile services. It is based in California and has an operational presence in Karachi.

Mobile Complete’s flagship service, DeviceAnywhere.com, gives mobile application developers remote access to over 600 handsets in US, UK and Canada today – more countries and handsets are coming soon. Developers no longer need to buy hundreds of handsets and travel to target markets to test their applications. Instead, with a cost-effective DeviceAnywhere.com subscription, they are able to get access to and operate the handsets from the desktop with an ordinary Internet connection.

Regularly featured in the wireless press Mobile Complete offers many innovative and distinct services to handset makers, network carriers and application development companies. Mobile Complete has an impressive client list (it has over 1000 customers) and supports handsets on 11 global carriers today. Earlier this year Mobile Complete received Frost & Sullivan 2007 Mobility Award for Best User Experience Management.

I had a chance to talk with VP Solutions of Mobile Complete, Mudassir Sheikha, and asked him a few questions.

Babar: Please tell us a bit about your Pakistan office.
Mudassir: We established the office in the first quarter of 2004 and are now about 60-people strong, spread across engineering, customer support, product marketing and finance. Overall, it has been a very positive and gratifying experience. The office helped us launch our products and get the first few customers in our pre-funding days. It continues to be a key component in all our initiatives.

Babar: What are the challenges and benefits of outsourcing work to Pakistan?
Mudassir: Benefits: Cost-effective operations, high quality and committed staff.
Challenges: Law and order situation, especially the high frequency of strikes; poor infrastructure around inconsistency of power supply; some advanced skill-sets are not readily available.

Babar: Do you have plans to offer solutions to mobile phone companies in Pakistan?
Mudassir: We will probably look into it in a few months. Our initial focus was North America. We have started making overtures in the European marketplace recently. Asia is next on the roadmap.

Babar: What is your take on next 5 years of Telecom market in Pakistan?
Mudassir: Just like operators elsewhere in the world, data services should start to take hold. Some services like banking and brokerage services are already available on mobile devices; more sectors may start to come online. The penetration of mobile devices is unprecedented, so we have a unique opportunity to reach out to the masses with modern services, cost-effectively.

While I think market forces will take care of much of the above, we need to do something about theft of mobile devices. I feel people are somewhat scared of using their handsets in open public, and that might be hampering the growth of mobile services, data services in particular.

Babar: Any advice for technology entrepreneurs in Pakistan?
Mudassir: To some extent, the Internet has leveled the playing field for everyone. You can target any market from anywhere in the world – cheaper from Pakistan. Find a focus, build a team, and deliver high-quality results. There is opportunity in anything that you can do better and cheaper than anyone else.

You can also check out the Device Anywhere blog, written by CEO of Mobile Complete, Faraz Syed.

Let’s go back to overview of Mobile Complete services – here’s how it is used: (taken from Mobile Complete website):

  • Network Operators: Use Mobile Complete for handset/application testing, QoS monitoring, roam testing, creating virtual developer labs, delivering try-before-you-buy experiences for handsets/apps/services and delivering enhanced consumer education & support.

  • Handset Manufacturers: Use Mobile Complete for handset/application testing, field testing, remote handset access, creating virtual developer labs, delivering try-before-you-buy experiences for handsets/apps/services and delivering enhanced consumer education & support.

• Application/Content/Service Providers: Use Mobile Complete for functional testing, QoS monitoring, remote handset/network access, cross-team collaboration and delivering try-before-you-buy experiences.

  • Handset Retailers: Use Mobile Complete for delivering try-before-you-buy experiences for handsets/apps/services and delivering enhanced consumer education & support.

Here’s what San Francisco Business Journal wrote about the business model of Mobile Complete:

Roughly 30 percent of Mobile Complete’s revenue and the vast majority of its customers sign up for its “Device Anywhere” service. A customer such as Bank of America pays a subscription fee to test its forthcoming mobile banking application through Mobile Complete’s handset farms.

Mobile Complete will soon expand its handset farms into three countries in Asia and five additional European countries, with carriers such as Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile.

Mobile Complete earns the rest of its revenue by licensing software to companies, such as Google, which test and conduct round-the-clock monitoring of their ever-growing batch of mobile applications.

Recently Motorola has invested in Mobile Complete. “We believe its Direct-to-Device technology enables the larger mobile devices ecosystem and developer community to more quickly and cost-efficiently develop and monitor applications across a range of Motorola handsets running on wireless operators’ networks globally,” says Warren Holtsberg, corporate vice president of equity investments at Motorola, of the company’s decision to back Mobile Complete.

Mobile Complete plans to leverage the funding proceeds to expand its DeviceAnywhere.com service to more locations around the world, as well as enable support for a wider array of mobile handsets. At present, the company’s service supports more than 300 handsets offered by 10 carriers and 11 device manufacturers.

Credits:
Many thanks to Mudassir for his time and input for this post. I would also like to thank TM for mentioning Mobile Complete at Telecom Grid Pakistan, a group for discussing all aspects of Telecom in Pakistan.

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