OTT "Versus" Mobile Operators is a Dead Argument

“OTT versus operators is dead,” argues John Strand, Strand Consult principal. “Partnerships will flourish, if not regulated out of existence” by regulatory bodies.

His argument is quite simple: “the two players need each other, and OTTs know it.” The argument, in broad outlines, is not new. Though some access providers have attempted to create their own over-the-top voice and messaging services, that generally has not worked well.

Instead, one might argue, there is more opportunity for collaboration in all other areas, where access providers might well find it fruitful to partner with OTTs.

You might think of what Internet.org is doing around the world with mobile service providers, partnering to provide “Free Basics,” a suite of Internet apps that can be used by anyone with a smartphone, or in many cases even feature phones, without a mobile data plan.

The idea is to allow people to sample the value of the Internet, on the assumption that many people will discover they want to use the Internet, and hence will buy data plans.

“Music services such as Spotify and Deezer; video services like HBO and Netflix; newspapers and magazines—any and all content that can be bundled with traditional traffic packets that telecom companies sell will be bundled with mobile service for all devices,” Strand argues.

“We expect that the number and type of services that operators bundle with voice, SMS and data will explode,” Strand predicts.

As you might suggest for services built on content, brands will matter. “In the same way that toys, clothing and other consumer products enter partnerships with film companies, more brands and mobile service will come together,” says Strand.
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