EU telcos on brink of OTT revolution

Openwave Mobility, a provider of data network and subscriber analysis software, predicts European operators will start to become true over-the-top (OTT) players in 2013.
Chris Goswami, director of marketing and communications at the firm, forecasts some operators will consider the move next year to address declining revenues caused by the encroachment of OTT players on traditional telecoms services.
Goswami points to Telefonica Digital, an independent division of Spanish incumbent Telefonica, as a shining example of how carriers might make the leap, noting that business has been more successful than operator OTT initiatives including Joyn or WAC.
“Recruiting staff with software and web DNA, maintaining their own ‘fast fail’ product development unit, and now responsible for all the new OTT services and start-ups acquired by Telefonica…they are busy launching their own set of OTT services,” Goswami notes.
He says Telefonica Digital has a “clear advantage” in being able to leverage Telefonica’s large subscriber base to distribute its new services, and tips the approach to spread to the point that carrier’s independent units “become separate companies with their own profit and loss and venture capital input, beginning in 2013.”
Goswami’s prediction is one of five made by Openwave Mobility’s team for 2013.
Other forecasts include chief executive John Giere’s belief that the granularity of the new consumer economy – where consumers can hire a car by the hour and buy individual episodes of TV series – will begin to infiltrate the mobile world, “with more examples of application centric, fine grained, data plans,” and a prediction by senior strategist Michael Rodgers that “mobile data pricing will diversify in 2013,” as 4G adoption increases.
Indranil Chatterjee, vice president of product management and marketing, expects policy engagement to begin to come to the fore in 2013, “as ‘policy management’ edges closer to becoming ubiquitous in developed markets.” The predictions are rounded out by Stephane Honore, chief technologist, who tips an increase in collaborations between OTT and carriers in emerging markets, where “both sets of players are looking for ways to attract users and gain quicker service adoption as the business growth will primarily come from mobile.”