Connectivity a key asset for telecoms operators, says analyst

AMSTERDAM--Telecoms operators must stop underselling the benefits of connectivity, a leading industry analyst said during a pre-conference workshop at the LTE World Summit here on Monday.

Mark Newman, telecoms and media chief research officer at Ovum, said connectivity is one of the key assets operators have in a market where an increasing number of services and applications are being offered beyond core voice services.

Speaking during a session with the title of 'LTE Operator Mind Share', Newman said telecoms companies must seek partnerships for non-core services, which include healthcare applications, connected cars, and over-the-top (OTT) services, among others.

Nemanja Ognjanovic, manager of the network and services planning department at Telekom Srbija, noted that operators have an opportunity to partner more closely with OTT players, by offering quality-of-service guarantees and billing services. Perhaps tellingly, however, no carriers raised their hand in response to a question from Newman about how many of them are already offering OTT companies such services.

Newman hinted a change in operator mindset is needed when dealing with OTT companies. "OTT is a business-to-business service," he noted.

Enabling OTT services on telecoms networks raises questions about net neutrality, Ognjanovic noted. He told delegates that operators cannot simply block OTT services, and called for more help from regulators in terms of defining open access. "We feel we've been left to deal with this [OTT traffic] on our own," he told delegates.

Speaking about Telekom Srbija's experience of offering its own OTT services, Ognjanovic said it has enjoyed greater success with localised applications--those that offer specific services to customers in its domestic market, instead of trying to be the next global phenomenon.

Ognjanovic also noted that interoperability remains an issue for OTT applications. He said initiatives including Rich Communications Services (RCS) and Joyn help to improve the interoperability of services, but suggested that operators must work more closely together to be successful in the sector.

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