Addressing the mobile VoIP threat

Addressing the mobile VoIP threat

Nicole McCormick/Ovum  |   August 22, 2012
Telecom Asia

Less than 12 months ago, Ovum was asked to share its views on how operators should fight the threat of mobile VoIP revenue cannibalization. We identified that many operators were simply tolerating MVoIP, but some were blocking MVoIP either politely through their terms & conditions or through port blocking.  And we noted that some operators - namely 3 UK - had partnered with Skype.

Fast forward one year and the whole MVoIP scene has changed drastically.  Messaging revenue erosion is well and truly a reality for the industry.  OTT messaging services such as WhatsApp are incredibly sticky and can spread rapidly.  For instance, the take-off point for critical mass for some MVoIP and messaging application services is as low as 5% or 10%.

Yes, some operators still have a wait-and-see attitude toward MVoIP.  Some also are still considering blocking MVoIP at the port. We don't recommend this approach. Long term, we believe it will only alienate customers - and regulators.

On the one hand, we are seeing other operators working alongside OTT allies to combat OTT messaging rivals. Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom have partnered on such initiatives.  But a lot of operators remain hesitant to collaborate, given that messaging OTT doesn't make any or much money.  

On the flip side, other operators are competing head-to-head with OTT operators.  AT&T Wireless has gone down the app route with its AT&T Messages services, while several operators have launched their own branded IP-based messaging services, including SK Telecom's NateOn Talk service, KT's Olleh Talk, Lime's LIME Talk and O2's Connect

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