Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and Over-the-Top (OTT) Service Providers are often depicted as arch rivals, however, can they leverage their respective strengths for mutual benefit. CSPs are investing in their platforms in order to offer additional services through partnership ecosystems and diversify their revenue streams. Successful collaboration has many requirements, one being a clear end-to-end application strategy.
Innovative bundles as an upgrade to traditional voice and messaging offerings: Players who offer VoIP and messaging services such as Skype and WhatsApp have been eroding CSPs’ traditional cash cow voice revenue. Many operators, especially in Western Europe, are investing in a rich communications suites (RCS) as a means of positively differentiating their services through sticky content and evolved communications abilities such enhanced instant messaging, video calling, document sharing and social media connectivity. While some CSPs are developing competing products, others are taking a more opportunistic approach by offering their users OTT services and charging extra.
Improved user experience through cloud computing: Thanks to the exploding smartphone adoption, users have been streaming content from the likes of YouTube, playing video games or connecting over social networks through their mobile devices. This created burdens for the networks as customers use their data intensive content. Evolution to next generation networks (LTE or 4G) will only exacerbate this problem. CSPs can use cloud computing to have OTT content delivered to their databases. They can then deliver the content through their own network, which is more efficient and can provide end-users with a higher quality of service than they enjoy today.
Monetization of data: The next generation of consumers place huge importance on social connectivity and access through their devices. Networks such as Twitter and Facebook and services such as Dropbox have huge mindshare with these consumers. Big Data analytics will not only help CSPs in the battle for market share and high value customers, but as end-customers get used to granting access to their data in exchange for free services, monetization of data becomes a huge revenue opportunity for CSPs. Moreover, CSPs can cross and upsell their own private cloud services.
Reduced time-to-market: CSPs are able to bring cool new apps and services quicker through partnering with OTTs. As stated above, cloud computing can help CSPs offer superior delivery and RCS is enabling CSPs to offer innovative bundles.