Telecom operators worry about OTT as minutes of usage of voice decline significantly
Telecom Lead India: In the first quarter of 2012, minutes
of usage of voice per user declined significantly in North America (-5.3
percent), Asia-Pacific (-0.6 percent), and Western Europe (-0.4 percent).
Mobile email and OTT mobile apps such as Whatsapp, Viber,
and iMessage are impacting mobile voice usage patterns.
The Middle East (3.5 percent) region had positive growth.
Over the forecast period, 4G has a CAGR of 120 percent
compared to 60 percent for 3G.
Messages business is experiencing slow-downs but more so
in emerging markets than developed markets.
Latin America, Africa, and Asia-Pacific demonstrated -5.8
percent, -0.7 percent and -0.2 percent declines quarter-on-quarter
Telecom operators such as Singtel and Vodafone have
started to counter OTT apps such as Whatsapp by increasing the quota of bundled
SMS their end-users are allocated. Such initiatives may come across as closing
the stable door after the horse has bolted. However, there are indications that
OTT messaging platforms eclipse SMS in all aspects.
Often Whatsapp end-users only use the messaging platform
for a select number of contacts in their Whatsapp list. There have been privacy
concerns regarding contact lists held on the Whatsapp server; slow delivery
times when data coverage is sparse; as well as contributing to maxed out data
quotas if the user is on a limited data plan.
The mobile data traffic is expecting 69 percent growth to
13.4 Exabytes in 2012.
While there is considerable interest in 4G, 3G
subscriptions continues to grow because most low-tier and mid-tier handsets are
3G, whereas 4G will remain a premium product for the next couple of years.
However, 4G traffic will grow disproportionately to its subscriber base as LTE
will encourage greater use of high definition streaming and adoption of rich
media/video social-networking services,” said Jake Saunders, VP for