Ahead of the LTE Asia Summit, taking place in Singapore this October I interviewed Jawad Arshad, Assistant Manager Strategic Partnerships, Verticals and Digital Services at China Mobile. Jawad’s work is focussed on developing partnerships between OTT’s and operators. I wanted to find out what role he thinks operators can play in the OTT ecosystem.
“Operators can play an important role since they possess some major strengths including customers, devices and technology infrastructure.” He said, “Initially most of the operators have tried to block OTT players but that direction has not worked well and operators had to adopt a collaborative approach rather being resistive. To me, operators have limited options now; OTT players have outnumbered the operators and it is up to operators to partner with them in order to survive the competition. The battle between OTTs and operators has long gone and won by the OTT’s. The only possible option left for telecom operator is to collaborate rather resist”
“Most of the OTT partners have penetration goals; user traffic, successful conversion and usage are among the few critical components for the sustenance. Operators have different strategic objectives such as revenues, network usage, mobile data penetration and high ARPUs. The approach towards collaboration can be based on a win-win situation where an operator pushes the OTT on its network aggressively, penetrate into the market as per OTT goals and then start monetizing. An example of this is when China Mobile Pakistan partnered with WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, we created an internet bundle of these networks and promoted heavily on our network. Once we had achieved the penetration targets, we started charging the internet bundle which resulted in PKR 1 million revenue on a daily basis. So the partnerships can take the following direction:
Jawad will be discussing the OTT partnerships he is working on at the LTE Asia Summit; “The forum provides the opportunity to connect to experts around the world and to have a perspective of how rest of the operators are tackling the OTT challenge.” He said “I hope to connect to such people and to explore the opportunities related to LTE networks.”