Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Telco Dilemma, Apps "toll" or new services to compete with smartphone apps?

Major telcos published by the end of July their results for H1 2011, showing benefits and worries about the future and how mature services as SMS are declining. Smartphones providing thousands of applications are moving the innovation outside the operator, sometimes to really small companies, using their services only as a data pipe (mobile broadband or Wi-Fi). And strong competition on mature markets forces to reduce the prices.

KPN presented on the Investor Day data that is important to take into consideration:  penetration of Whatsapp on Smartphone users is 85% (in April 2011). To reduce the impact of the loss of revenue they have announced an increase of the prices of Mobile Broadband on September 5th, as the regulator is defending the net neutrality. Maybe it is not such good idea just to try to get more money for the same services (connectivity) instead of offering their own OTT services to compete against popular applications as Whatsapp or Skype.

Incumbent operators have lots of customers, the whole population in fact, with different income levels that would continue becoming loyal customers of their telco if they feel that value for money of the services provided is great, no matter the device they are using.

RCS-e is the opportunity for MNO or MVNO to offer a wide range of new services "OTT" competing with other pure OTT alternatives, with the strengths that telcos are still keeping (user real identities, 100% penetration, interoperability).

Coming LTE will increase the mobile broadband capacity, no sense to complain about investing in LTE and others (OTT) taking the bigger slice of the revenue cake.
Carriers must invest simoultaneusly in access technology (HSPA & LTE) and in VAS technologies in order to keep the broadband business and increase their share of the over the top revenue cake. In terms of investment, RCS-e technology (RCS-e Core and RCS-e VAS platforms) is an affordable investment compared to the deployment of LTE & HSPA networks.
It's time for action !

David Culebras

Credit: image by Wiangya

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