Mobile operators around the world are losing billions of dollars annually due to the spread of instant messaging. In 2014, according to the calculations by Juniper Networks, telecom companies lost more than $14 billion due to instant messaging and VoIP-services, which users use to replace traditional calls and SMS-messages. By 2018, the size of their losses could reach $386 billion. So why do providers need their own messaging platforms?
By 2016, WhatsApp processed twice as many messages per day as were sent by SMS via operator networks—42 billion versus 20 billion. By 2021, analysts from Strategy Analytics believe the earnings of cellular operators from traditional services will fall by 42% compared to 2015. By early 2017, 25% of international calls around the world will be made by Skype, not by telephone.
OTT projects (Over The Top—third-party services that provide their services over data networks owned by operators) develop their business on the infrastructure of operators, but often do not allocate any funds to the infrastructure. But by blocking a popular messenger or voice service, the operator risks losing subscribers and a share of the proceeds. (Read the article – How to Make Money on OTT? )
How Operators Struggle with Losses
The three main strategies that cellular operators around the world use are mutually beneficial partnerships with OTT service developers and blocking or creating their own platforms and applications for subscribers.
Locks are one strategy: for example, Arabian operators Etisalat and Du use this strategy. In the United Arab Emirates only certified VoIP platforms are allowed to provide voice services. Calls through WhatsApp, Snapchat, and other services are prohibited.
Operators in other countries prefer to cooperate with OTT companies and offer their subscribers tariff plans that include batch or unlimited access to instant messaging. In 2012, the Japanese company KDDI was one of the first to sign an agreement with the popular service for exchanging messages, Line. As a result, both companies increased their user base.
In 2013, the social network Facebook partnered with 18 cellular operators in 14 countries. Under these agreements, operators undertook to provide their subscribers free, unlimited access to Facebook Messenger within the tariff line. For telecom companies, the benefit was an increase in the number of subscribers—for example, Paraguayan operator Millicom recorded a 30% increase in the number of mobile Internet users. Chinese operator China Unicom signed an agreement with WeChat messenger—to reach the youth audience and increase average revenue per user.
To combat losses, operators cooperate not only with developers of popular instant messengers and VoIP-projects but also with other companies.
For example, in February 2016, the global organization GSMA, which represents the interests of telecom companies around the world, announced a partnership with Google. Together, the companies plan to develop a messaging platform that all GSMA operators can offer to their subscribers. Such an agreement will not only allow operators to implement a platform for messaging on Android smartphones (which, according to Strategy Analytics, by the end of 2016 occupied 87.5% of the global smartphone market)
Creating Your Own Messaging Platform
Other telecom companies prefer to implement their own software and include its use in tariff plans. At the same time, creating an internal messaging platform not only helps to increase user loyalty, avoid their defection to other instant messaging platforms, and increase brand awareness. But these efforts can also contribute to the development of infrastructure: similar tools can be implemented in mobile games and other applications and subscriber data can help personalize advertisements and marketing campaigns.
In case you have made a decision, take your time to choose reliable supporting systems. JeraSoft billing platform allows providers and operators to handle all parts of the billing process from the very beginning. Contact JeraSoft to get more information and support while launching the messaging platform.
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