Research firm forecasts global OTT communications market will be worth $53.7 billion by 2017.
Skype is costing mobile operators $100 million per day, according to new research published this week.
Carried out by Mobile Squared on behalf of Tyntec, the study found that Skype’s 280 million active users generate 2 billion minutes of VoIP traffic per day, resulting in lost voice revenue for mobile operators. 43% of operators surveyed by Mobile Squared identified Skype as a “major threat” to their revenues, particularly since its acquisition by Microsoft in 2011.
The growing popularity of services like Skype, as well as mobile messaging services like WhatsApp, will see the revenue generated by OTT off-net traffic termination grow to $53.7 billion by 2017, Mobile Squared predicted, up from $7.9 billion in 2013.
Usage of WhatsApp alone has surged by 233% over the last 12 months, and the service now boasts more than 300 million users, the research firm said. During that same time period, WhatsApp traffic has increased from 2 billion messages sent per day to 10 billion.
“Mobile operators need to act now as OTT services continue to chip away at their messaging revenues,” said José Garcia, VP of sales and carrier relations at Tyntec, in a statement on Thursday. “The move towards working in partnership with OTT providers instead of blocking or imposing surcharges looks like an increasingly favourable strategy.”
It certainly seems to be more appealing than trying to beat OTT providers at their own game.
Mobile Squared research published by Tyntec in August revealed that most operators do not see initiatives like Joyn, the GSMA-backed cross-platform messaging and file-sharing service, as the answer.
Only 7% of 40 global mobile operators surveyed answered ‘yes’ to the question: Do you believe Joyn will be the solution that mobile operators are waiting for to tackle the threat posed by OTT players? A further 29% said ‘yes, but it has taken too long to launch’, while another 29% said ‘no’, noting that it is too late for Joyn to make an impact.
“The OTT market continues to accelerate thanks to the rise in demand for smartphones and the desire to communicate at the lowest available cost,” said Nick Lane, chief analyst at Mobile Squared on Thursday. “Blocking or ignoring the OTT challenge is a dangerous and short-term strategy that will only alienate customers. The solution is to either evolve and innovate existing voice and messaging services, or to partner with OTT service providers.”