Respondents to the Telecoms.com Industry Survey 2014 reaffirmed the previous year’s enthusiasm for the idea of partnership between OTT players and operators, with 92 per cent believing there is value in such collaboration. But this year the key benefits were pinpointed as improved customer retention and a competitive advantage.
Survey respondents were asked to rate a number of benefits available to operators from such partnerships according to their perceived value on a scale of one to seven, where seven is extremely valuable. The benefits to which the highest values were attached were improved customer retention— more than half of respondents rated this six or seven on the scale—and an improved competitive advantage over other operators, which was given the same rating by 43.5 per cent of respondents and 45.3 per cent of operator respondents.
There was substantially less belief in the possibility that such partnerships might somehow mitigate the competitive threat that OTTs represent to mobile operators, which is consistent with the previous year’s findings. Just under 31 per cent of respondents (and an identical proportion of operator respondents) ranked this benefit six or seven. Operators expressed cautious optimism about the revenue potential of such partnerships. Both incremental revenue through increased ARPU and incremental revenue through payments from OTT players were ranked six or seven as benefits by 39.4 per cent of operator respondents.
“In the past, operators have sometimes over-priced access to their value-adds (for example location APIs) so OTT players have found workarounds,” said Andy Tiller, VP for corporate product marketing at BSS solutions provider AsiaInfo-Linkage.
“But the survey shows that the business case for OTT partnerships is built on many factors, and offering cheaper, easier access to their value-adds could be very beneficial to operators.”
The 2014 Telecoms.com Intelligence Global Industry Survey drew responses from more than 2,000 industry professionals, including more than 700 operator representatives. The full report from the survey is available here.