They’re calling it a revolution…”like the Boston Tea Party,” except this one is for the 21st century, not the 18th century.
Nebi Erdogan, a Turk, and his Chinese attorney wife, Eve, an associate at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, met in Atlanta and were married six days later. But their “revolution” has been more than a year in the making.
Their rallying cry is “Smartphones for Smarter People.” Their objective is to launch a smartphone that uses open WiFi networks and its own hotspots to support call, text and mobile Web services.
Mr. Erdogan told Global Atlanta that their venture is “an activist startup” aimed at cutting the cost of mobile price plans.
He is counting on “smarter people,” who realize that today’s carriers are producing pricier phones and monthly plans when available technologies should be providing cheaper phones and more WiFi hotspots.
With a professional background in mobile payments, Mr. Erdogan has been studying mobile technologies since his studies in economics and mathematics at Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Although he is supremely confident about his long-term vision for the development of smartphones, he had what would appear to most as insurmountable short-term obstacles.
First, he had to come up with a low-cost phone that embodied extremely high-end technical specifications.
His wife’s fluency in Mandarin and the dialect most widely spoken in Shanghai led them to China where they eventually established a factory in Shenzhen, a center for many of the suppliers providing the most commonly known smartphones.
Alibaba, the e-commerce operator, also led them to China where they located the suppliers with the necessary parts.
The result is their EVE 008 model built especially to run the hardware demanding VoIP apps, which they are selling for a retail price of $149 and no contracts.
One challenge down; another challenge lay immediately ahead.
At this point they had to find a battery for their prototype that could handle the energy consumption of the WiFi connections. A high-powered battery and a special processor were helpful.
Finally, they had to make adjustments to the Android power management system.
All this accomplished, they faced a costly interaction with the Federal Communications Commission.
With the approval process completed, they have launched NEBI.MOBI, the cell phone plan that runs on open Wi-Fi and VoIP networks.
Mr. Erdogan added with an evident sense of accomplishment having taken the development process this far that their “dual sim card smartphone is unlocked and capable of running on any GSM carrier networks out of the box, too.”
Their ambitions are not limited to the United States, he added. But it is here where they need to make an initial mark to raise the necessary funding.
China, India, Latin America and Africa all have markets that would like to replace the carriers with WiFi connections,” he said. “The U.S., however, is where we have to find the initial subscriber base.”
Wise to these developments, the carriers and smartphone manufacturers including Apple Inc. with its new iPhone6 are incorporating some of the features into their products without reducing the price of the handsets or helping to build out the WiFi connectivity.
While the Erdogans initially raised funds through crowdfunding, these gains were quickly dispensed in the costs of marketing and advertising. They now are anxious to talk to investors who are willing to help them create a lower cost alternative to the costly dominance of the major carriers.
That’s why they are calling their backers “rebels” —Revolutionary Evolution Backers for Escape from Limitations.
To learn more about Nebi.Mobi click here. Mr. Erdogan may be reached by calling (530) 377-6324.