Service providers consider OTT partnerships important for business growth

Service providers and OTT players are acknowledging the importance of forming strategic partnerships to achieve business growth, but each side wants to own the customer experience, according to a survey released today.

The survey, conducted by research firm Coleman Parkes for customer experience services provider Amdocs, involved phone interviews with 100 executive decision makers at service providers, OTT players and device manufacturers worldwide.

Surprisingly service providers were found to increasingly be warming to OTT players with 70% of providers viewing OTT players as potential partners, rather than a threat.

This trend continued with regards to perceived creativity with 64% of service providers saying that OTT players bring innovation to the industry.However, 42% of service providers said that they could offer a better version of any service delivered by an OTT player.

A key hurdle in partnerships was found to be customer experience with two thirds of service providers saying that they must own the customer experience in any partnering agreement with OTT players or device manufacturers.

In contrast only 13% of device manufacturers and 14% of OTT players envisioned a future in which they cede ownership of customer experience to service providers.

The majority of all three groups were found to be willing to offer and expose their core assets to achieve partnership goals with 74% of OTT players, 73% of device makers and 56% of service providers willing to do so.

All groups viewed partnering as a means of raising revenues and cutting costs but had separate motivations, according to the survey.

Forty percent of service providers were looking to extend network reach through partnerships and 34% viewed partnerships as tools for developing new products and services.

Among device manufacturers the ability to deliver seamless experience and QoS were considered key values in partnering with service providers and 69% of OTT players cited QoS as important to their ability to compete and survive.

When asked about their unique core assets service providers rated their brand strength, network quality and customer data as their core assets, points agreed by both OTT players and device manufacturers.

“It’s a whole new partnership landscape for service providers,” said Ian Parkes of Coleman Parkes. “While service providers used to form partnerships mainly for roaming and with device manufacturers, today they must navigate a more complex environment full of over-the-top, Internet, financial settlement and other players. Our research goal was to explore this new world, and we were surprised that service providers view OTT players as an opportunity, not a threat, and by the broad agreement on the value of service providers’ core assets.”