In recent years we have seen a rapid growth in the use of over-the-top (OTT) applications for voice and messaging communications, which has forced operators to think twice about how they will protect critical voice revenues from attrition.
We saw the launch of TU Me by the carrier Telefonica in 2012, a free VoIP voice and messaging app, which was offered to customers to compete with the likes of Skype/Whatsapp. The carriers scraped the idea a year later as they failed to make significant revenue or dent customer loyalty that OTT platforms such as Skype already have.
The on-going debate of ‘are OTT services an opportunity or a threat?’ has now reached a point where operators are moving towards a holistic operator OTT strategy. As the saying goes, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. Carriers are looking for ways to partner with OTT players, some providing these applications as part of the data plan as a value added service for their customers.
There is still much to debate—how carriers will decide to partner with OTT players? Will such collaborations be effective; and if OTT players don’t decide to partner with carriers then what is their long term plan? Will they need a network of their own to provide OTT services?
Come and share your thoughts on this ongoing debate at the LTE World Summit 2014, followed by further discussions at the LTE Voice Summit, taking place on 6-8th October, London at the at the Royal Garden Hotel, where OTT players such as Nimbuzz, Tango Me and Farfone will share an insight in this space.