Facebook on mobile presents challenges to telecom operator messaging

Telecom Lead India: The surge in use of Facebook on
mobile represents threat to operator messaging.


Facebook is keen to expand its mobile presence.


At present, the company’s increasing mobile presence is
through products such as Facebook Messenger.


Its mobile presence is also offering opportunities to
mobile operators, according to Strategy Analytics.


Strategy Analytics suggests that telecom operators need
to develop partnerships with Facebook to drive the adoption of data plans,
target specific customer segments and create wholesale revenue opportunities.


Simultaneously, operators need to evolve their current
messaging services, through initiatives such as Rich Communication Suite (RCS),
which will help them keep up with the slick smartphone messaging applications
that threaten to supplant SMS and MMS.


Global non-SMS services grew to 61% of data revenues in Q3 2011
from 55% in Q3 2010


Recently, Infonetics Research said smartphones have
stimulated healthy increases in non-SMS data revenues that continue to lift
operator performance despite declining voice and static SMS
markets. Regionally, non-SMS data revenues grew to 54 percent of total
data in Western Europe and 72 percent in North America.


“Over last 12 months, while wireless ARPU fell eight
percent and voice ARPU declined 13-14 percent, data ARPU increased by more than
five percent,” said Phil Kendall, director Wireless Operator Strategies,
and author of the report at Infonetics Research.


According to a report in Times of India, Facebook shares have dropped below the $30
mark, in what has been dubbed as the worst-performing Initial Public Offering
of any major floatation in the last decade.


Facebook and its Wall Street advisors are already being
sued by investors who lost out in the 16 billion dollars IPO amid claims that
they were misled about the social network’s business prospects.


User communication habits are increasingly fragmented as
the number of alternative messaging services rises and growing smartphone
ownership enables greater mobile access to those services. This trend is not
going to disappear, so mobile operators need to adopt approaches which do not
directly conflict with the development of core messaging business. Prioritizing
Facebook over an operator’s own messaging services is not a wise approach.
However, wholesaling SMS and MMS capacity to Facebook provides operators
incremental revenue opportunities,” said Nitesh Patel, senior analyst, Strategy


It is not all bleak news for mobile operators. Operator
messaging potentially allows for out-of-the-box, any network, any device
messaging which consumers will always consider valuable. Therefore, it is
critical that operators also evolve messaging services in order to provide a
reliable alternative to over-the-top real time messaging services, such as
Facebook Messenger,” said David MacQueen, director, Wireless Media Strategies,
Strategy Analytics.


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