OTT messaging will cost cellcos $104 billion in revenue in 2017: study

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Consumer migration from operator voice and text services to OTT messaging services and social media will cost network operators nearly $104 billion this year – equivalent to 12% of their service revenues – according to a new study from Juniper Research.

The new study – Mobile Operator Business Models: Challenges, Opportunities & Strategies 2017-2021, which analyzed the scale of operator traffic decline together with the uptake of OTT VoIP and message services – found that the success of several platforms had substantially impacted operator margins, with WhatsApp alone now generating nearly three times as much daily traffic as SMS.

Furthermore, Juniper says, with most leading OTT messaging platforms now incorporating or trialing multiple communication options, including group voice or video chat, operators would see continued erosion of traffic levels in the future.

On the bright side, Juniper said there are a number of measures that operators could introduce both to arrest the decline in core revenues and to develop new sources of income, including:

  • Big data and analytics packages for both consumer and IoT devices
  • Carrier billing payment options
  • Mobile money services
  • Mobile identity services.

The research also concluded that with mobile increasingly deployed within the context of a quad-play offering, it’s essential for telcos to provide consumers with attractive, original content to differentiate themselves from the competition, said research author Dr Windsor Holden.

“With mobile devices now regularly used for primary consumption of video content as well as snacking, operators providing popular film, drama and exclusive sports events over multiple channels are at a distinct advantage,” he said.

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