Tuesday, June 28, 2016

1/2 of Asia Mobile Operators Partner with OTT App Providers

Just over half of 60 Asian mobile service providers  surveyed by Alepo have working partnership agreements with over the top app providers in place today, while nearly all expressed interest or intent in creating partnerships.

Most of the agreements seem to center on OTT voice and messaging, but content revenues are growing.

Over-the-Top (OTT) services represent a $28 billion market worldwide, projected to double to $54 Billion by 2019  In the Asia Pacific region alone, Alepo says.

OTT TV and video revenues are expected to reach $18 Billion by 2021,

Displacement of existing voice and messaging revenue streams by OTT substitutes is driving the interest in partnering.  underscored the severity of operators’ revenue loss to OTT providers.

“Proliferation of over-the-top (OTT) content services such as Skype and WhatsApp amongst others could trigger a whopping 30 percent to 50 percent revenue hit on telecom companies’ voice services,” said Rajan Mathews, Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India, “Telco messaging revenues have already taken a 30% hit, thanks to OTT players.”

Many mobile service providers therefore have concluded that it makes sense to partner, in hopes of salvaging at least some revenue from customers who prefer to use OTT voice and messaging.

Alepo suggests mobile service providers have three strategic options for dealing with OTT competition: control, compete or collaborate. Since some of us would argue “control” is not viable--or even lawful--long term, the three options might alternatively be phrased: coexist, compete or partner.

In that view, coexistence simply means mobile operators cannot prevent OTT competition, but must simply accept that third party apps are both possible as a matter of technology and also desirable as a matter of consumer demand.

Ovum estimates that 31 percent of all OTT partnerships globally come from the Asia  region, with the highest concentration in social media.

The path of collaboration makes sense for many mobile service providers in large part because it has proven so difficult for any mobile operators to create viable branded substitutes to the leading OTT messaging apps, for example.

If revenue sharing is possible, when working with an OTT partner, that will appear the best possible alternative among the several options: doing nothing, building a rival service, or working as an OTT business partner.

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