ODPs have been around since around 2000. They seemed to be one of the stars of the Mobile World Congress 10 days ago in Barcelona but I have my doubts about whether they represent a good investment for VCs. On closer examination ODPs seem to be solving the user experience problem – they are placing fatter clients on the phone and pre-loading a lot of content – this improves the customer experience. It also allows mobile service providers to control and track the user to a far greater extent. Mobile service provider love it and I even heard that Vodafone Live was going to be dumped for an ODP approach.
Why are they not good investments for VCs? Two reasons, firstly ODPs are not purchased by users but bought by operators – therefore there is no “facebook” factor. Secondly, who will buy the ODPs when they are so controlled by the operator channel?