In the LTE Latin America 2015 event, it was clear that the telco/OTT partnership was one of the topics that generated a lot of interest among the participants.
Viber, among others, is trying to build partnerships with operators across the region and operators are starting to open up to having conversations with OTT providers. Meanwhile, Google is moving towards innovative connectivity projects, showing how the convergence and competitive landscape is changing very quickly.
Viber, which presented itself at the event as the world’s second messaging application after WhatsApp, highlighted that its customers come mostly from Asia and developed countries, knowing that WhatsApp is, by far, the main communication application in the region.
However, Viber does not position itself as a competitor to the operators; on the contrary, it is trying to build partnerships. It is evolving from a communication application to social media platform. Viber said that, at the moment, its main revenue comes from gaming and stickers. It mentioned that it had some deals with some Asian operators, mainly in cobranding, and wants to expand by finding new ways of working together with operators.
Another OTT provider, Truecaller, which helps to identify calls with Caller ID and blocks unwanted spam and scam calls, was also trying to make agreements in the region.
On the telco side, Claro commented that, while it is developing its own OTT services like Claro Video and Claro Musica, it is also interested in working with OTT providers. Considering that most of the Latin American market is prepaid and the population is mainly unbanked, Claro considers payments and authentication as the natural areas to start looking for partnerships.
However, its proposition for the initial stage appeared to be “come and offer me a business,” simply expanding the current revenue-sharing agreements that it has with infotainment, horoscope, and other third parties, which, in our view, is a very limited outlook.