Third-party over-the-top (OTT) communication services (messaging and voice) such as WhatsApp and Skype are popular – and proliferating, especially in emerging markets. The advantage of OTT over operator services is that it is perceived as free, though a data connection is needed to access the Internet. Customers like them, but these services generate incremental traffic putting an additional strain on operators. Unless they block OTT communication, operators have to handle these services.
What is worse for operators is that they do not have a direct relationship with OTT users, and as such they are effectively cut out the value chain. While the Rich Communication Suite–enhanced (RCSe) is emerging as the industry-wide standard for IP mobile communication, it’s not ready yet, and operators need interim strategies to combat third-party OTT services. But what are the best strategies?
The main focus of this report is on mobile IP messaging. We examine the significance of OTT communication (voice and messaging), and more specifically the impact of OTT messaging, and take a closer look at six different strategies that operators are currently using to respond to the threat posed by OTT. The report presents case studies from SingTel, Claro, Orange, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Three and examines how these different operators are approaching OTT communication. We conclude with some recommendations for operators as they rethink and refine their strategies.
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