Mobile broadband services are getting popular day by day. The trend of using “free” OTT services, like WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, Line, etc, is extending like holocaust and OTT really leads the communication War said Parvez Iftikhar former CEO USF and an ICT Expert.
OTT services first initiated with free abroad calls on Skype. People are now using it for making local calls as well.
OTT Really Leads The Communication War: Parvez Iftikhar
WhatsApp started its messaging service a few years ago. It is being used for more than 100 million calls each day.
Over The Top service providers (OTTs) are those who provide telecom facilities to customers without any licence to work in the country. On the other hand Telcos are the operators who have operating licences from the regulator acquired at a heavy cost. They invest billions in communications infrastructure.
Telcos offer connectivity and OTTs hitch on top of it. In the course the OTTs bereave the Telcos of their most relevant profit source. This became possible only with the onset of broadband internet.
OTTs are capable to deliver their services free. That does not mean that they do not get anything. They earn either directly or indirectly via advertisements, through in-app purchases and through the treasure trove of people-data on which they sit.
Telcos are pretty much aware that there is very little they can do against those providing free services. The more 3G/4G stretches, the more voice traffic switches to OTTs. The data revenue does not outweigh the loss of voice revenue.
Pakistan’s new Telecom Policy 2015 consigns a chapter to “VoIP and other Over-the-Top (OTT) services”, guiding Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to develop relevant framework.
Telcos have to look at openings to extend their revenue streams. They can pull their colossal fixed and wireless networks, millions of customers, and customer data.
In order to be more competitive Telcos should cut costs. They could do it by using Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV). It will make it probable to permit services that are now being carried out by devoted hardware to be hosted on virtual machines.
The latest partnership between Mobilink and infrastructure provider Awal Telecom is a good augury. Undoubtedly, Telcos know that they will have to put up with the OTTs. The key lies in Telcos lessening tariffs and establishing new pools of profits, subsidized by some ‘light’ regulation.
The above views are expressed by Parvez Iftikhar, who is a former CEO of USF and a very respected Global ICT Expert.