Telcos need to find a way to do things differently and get better at reaching out to other parties.
Andrew Hamilton, a partner at Value Partners, said: "There is no point fighting the OTT players. You have to work with them and ride the wave of third-party apps. Telcos have to open up their distribution networks -- but it has to be very simple for them to use."
He called for a mindset shift and for telcos not to view OTT apps as the enemy.
Speaking at an event in Manila on "Monetizing Data", sponsored by Elitecore Technologies, Hamilton said that most operators have been poor at marketing and execution on new business models, and should extend their offerings to fill the gaps the handset and internet giants don't cover.
Dhaval Vora, Elitecore VP of product management, noted that there is no silver bullet to creating new revenue streams, so telcos have to experiment and look at all aspects of their business.
But he said that by being able to support a two-sided business model, operators can roll out services such as smart roaming plans, 3G/Wi-Fi plans and parental controls, which can boost loyalty by improving the customer's experience. Some can save customers money while others can generate additional incremental revenue for the operator.
But far too often, Hamilton said the only time a telco engages with a customer is when it wants to try to sell him something.
In a panel discussion on customer experience, Earl Valencia, Smart Communications' head of corporate development and innovation, explained that the customer experience covers every thing from the discovery of a service until disconnection.