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Mobile operators seek partnerships with Facebook and WhatsApp

by david.nunes

Mobile operators seek partnerships with Facebook and WhatsApp

Four in five MNOs now open to OTT partnerships in bid to replace revenue

39% of operators have partnered or want to partner with Facebook and WhatsApp

96% of MNOs see the benefits in OTT partnership

MUNICH, LONDON and SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 18, 2014 – New global survey results show Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are dramatically changing their strategy and plans to partner with Over-the-Top (OTT) players. The annual survey from mobilesquared, sponsored by mobile interaction specialist tyntec, revealed that by the end of 2014, over half (55%) of MNOs have already formed or expect to form a relationship with an OTT partner compared to only 36% in 2013. Notably, the number of operators yet to identify any benefits from OTT partnerships plummeted from 36 to four per cent in the last twelve months.

The survey reveals strong statistics towards MNOs looking to partner with OTT players:

  • Four in five MNOs are now considering OTT partnerships in a bid to boost revenue
  • 14% of respondents said that they’ve already partnered with Facebook and/or WhatsApp, with 25% looking to partner with them in the future

Experience breeds wisdom: a clearcut case for partnership

Eighty per cent of MNOs currently cite their most pressing concern as declining revenue on traditional calls and P2P (Person-to-Person) messages, directly attributed to the increasing pressure of OTT services. This year, 40% of mobile operators said that OTT services attributed to a decrease in revenues over the last 12 months with 33% of MNOs seeing up to a 10% revenue decline in the period. With only 21% of respondents citing a similar impact in 2013, it is clear that the impact of OTTs on MNO revenues is growing. Mobilesquared forecasts that the global mobile operator opportunity for OTT communication will be worth $42.9 billion in 2018.

Survey results from previous years by mobilesquared showed that imposing surcharges, charging for data or blocking access to OTT services are no longer seen as viable business models to help MNOs stand up to financial pressure from OTTs. The number of MNOs offering their own messaging applications fell from 43% in 2013 to just 5% in 2014. A further 10% of MNOs blocked OTT services in 2012, now it is not done at all.

Seven in ten (71%) MNOs believe an increase in customer loyalty is the predominant benefit of forming an OTT partnership. Consequently, 45% of those surveyed saw opportunities to monetise OTT services through the inclusion of data as part of the standard data bundle.

Paving the way to partnership

“Decreasing revenues are a priority for MNOs and it’s clear that partnering with OTTs will harvest opportunities. Equally important, MNOs and OTT players are on uncertain ground as they try to find ways to work together: operators struggle with their diminishing subscriber base and the possibility of having to make costly infrastructure changes, while OTTs are quickly learning that they too will need to find a way to generate revenue in order to grow,” said Thorsten Trapp, CTO for tyntec.

Whilst MNOs are now actively looking to build partnerships with OTTs, many still have questions surrounding the logistics and literal implementation. 64% of mobile operators said that business reasons were the primary motive for not forging a partnership with an OTT provider, followed by infrastructure complexities (26%) and regulatory issues (23%). Not only are there challenges, but mobile operators have also expressed their concerns of entering a collaborative model with an OTT provider. Almost one-third of mobile operators said that they would have no idea what the contractual agreements would look like.

Trapp continued, “That’s where companies such as tyntec come in. As an overlaying international network provider, tyntec enables operators to monetize OTT services without having to enter into separate agreements with a myriad of OTT players; gain cost efficiency; and provide the global access that OTTs require, but cannot easily be delivered by operators given the international fragmentation of the telecom industry. With a decade-long experience in solving business and operational challenges right where telcos and OTTs collide, tyntec provides the global perspective that operators lack but OTTs need.

Nick Lane, Chief Insight Analyst at mobilesquared, added: “OTT communications has always been about growing a multi-million user base and market capitalization. But we’re now seeing the maturation of the OTT communications space and the need to monetize the user base. The quickest route to monetisation for the majority of OTT communications providers will be to seek out partnerships with mobile operators to capitalize on their end-user relationship and billing functionality.”

For more information see the complete whitepaper entitled ‘From Resistance to Opportunity. Operators shift into monetising OTT.’ or the infographic.

Research was conducted by mobilesquared surveying more than 60 international MNOs from July to September 2014. The mobilesquared global mobile operator database and OTT service providers and vendors were questioned using both an online survey, and a set of face to face interviews and briefings. Forecasts were compiled using a six-stage process which was applied to 68 different markets, taking into account subscriptions, smartphone and OTT penetration and other key data points.

About tyntec

tyntec (http://www.tyntec.com) is a mobile interaction specialist, enabling businesses to integrate mobile telecom services for a wide range of uses – from enterprise mission-critical applications to internet services. The company reduces the complexity involved in accessing the closed and complex telecoms world by providing a high quality, easy-to-integrate and global offering using universal services such as SMS, voice and numbers.

Founded in 2002, and with more than 150 staff in six offices around the globe, tyntec works with 500+ businesses including mobile service providers, enterprises and internet companies.

About mobilesquared

mobilesquared is the best provider of intelligence and insight on the mobile sector. We excel at conducting dynamic research and writing amazing copy. Our core team of journalists-turned-analysts have been covering the mobile space since phones were like bricks, and this experience allows us to analyse and strategise our findings and transform into outstanding reports for clients, whether for internal use (e.g. market positioning) or external (e.g. white papers, quarterly publications), even presentations. And because we’re small, we’re flexible, completely independent, and very cost-effective. Learn more about how we can help you by paying our site a visit www.mobilesquared.co.uk.

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