Over-the-top players will cost operators an estimated $14 billion in lost revenues this year, up by 26% from 2013, Juniper Research estimates.
Research into mobile operator business models, conducted by the firm, shows that in a number of markets operator mobile voice revenues have fallen to below 60% of the total from five years ago.
Social media, IM and VoIP substitution are the primary culprits, contributing not only to lost revenue but also to increased costs to due to the scale of mobile signaling traffic.
This will require operators to optimize their networks, or else mobile data delivery costs will increase more than threefold over the next three years. Implementing emerging technologies such as NFV can help achieve this goal.
Faced with these threats, operators are also exploring new revenue streams – sunch as M2M and mobile money – that can deliver cumulative revenues to operators in excess of $66 billion over the next five years.
Juniper is also recommending operators implement direct carrier billing, and enhance their analytics packages to monetize consumer big data.
Voice substitution can be mitigated by introducing higher-value mobile data packages and bundling content into monthly subscriptions, the research firm said