Mobile operators need to start developing a smart-pipe strategy to differentiate themselves and address the growing threat from over-the-top (OTT) players.
To take back control from the OTT giants and gain a significant slice of the mobile payments markets for example, SLA Mobile CEO Nic Stirk said operators need to move to direct operator billing.
The mobile payments market in Asia Pacific is forecast to be worth $267 billion by 2016.
"Rather than take the crumbs left by the OTT players, a strategy of monetizing network assets needs to be on the agenda of every operator's board," Stirk told an audience at the CommunicAsia Summit.
Direct operator billing (DOB) should be the starting point of such a strategy. "Operators have many assets that can be monetized, and DOB is simply the stepping-stone to greater things in terms of differentiating themselves against the OTT players," he said.
Operators need to disrupt the current value chain by creating a vibrant ecosystem in which revenue is generated from a two-sided business model.
He explained that the key to creating sustainability is for operators to have direct engagement with merchants and suggested that some operators may have the capability and resources to do this themselves. If not, they should partner with a technology and business company that has the ability to think and behave like an operator.