Telco-OTT, a Symbiotic Relationship?
There are more opportunities for Telcos and OTT firms to collaborate and gain collectively. A viewpoint.
The rivalry and associated debate on Telcos versus Over-The-Top (OTT) firms has been simmering in different parts of the world for quite some time now. The Telcos who controlled the “last mile access” and were powerful until the beginning of this decade have been relegated to the background by the hyper ambitious, innovative, exponentially growing, less regulated OTT firms, thanks to the “hour glass” Internet. With applications and content being provided over the ubiquitous Internet Protocol (IP), the role of the Telcos has been tuned down to mere bandwidth provisioning and hence the turf war. Presently, the Telcos face threat from OTTs. Their frustration is manifested through possible ban of OTT services. A case in point is the carrier level ad-blocking software being deployed by some of the European carriers to ban OTTs’ mobile advertisements! There are numerous cases including one in India where Telcos do discriminatory pricing explicitly to discourage the use of OTT communication services to protect their own SMS and voice revenue.
While OTT firms have been innovating on products and services that ride over the ubiquitous IP, the Network Equipment Manufacturers (NEMs) in association with the Telcos have been innovating on technologies that have phenomenally increased spectral efficiency, access speed, reliability, and Quality of Service (QoS) of networks. Data transmission speeds have increased multi-fold from hundreds of Kilobits/sec in 2G networks to the anticipated Gigabits/ sec in 5G networks. It must be noted that