OTT should mean “Option To Transform”

30 April 2013 | Nick Ford


At one time, the phrase “over the top” would inspire the same level of dread in telecoms executives as when shouted in the trenches of the First World War. The “traditional” telecoms world would look askance at the impressive growth and billions of international minutes OTT operators were capturing and worry about their own survival.

At one time, the phrase “over the top” would inspire the same level of dread in telecoms executives as when shouted in the trenches of the First World War. The “traditional” telecoms world would look askance at the impressive growth and billions of international minutes OTT operators were capturing and worry about their own survival.

Telcos now seem to be recovering from the shell shock caused by these new entrants and to understand their new battlefield. Quietly some may even be thankful for the march of OTT. Most OTT minutes seem to have come from growing the market rather than capturing other people’s minutes. Overall ILD minute (and revenue) growth remains positive. Who is to say that the relatively slow recent growth rates are a result of uncertain economic times or inevitable maturing of the market rather than market disruptors? So rather than running in the opposite direction, the industry has started to embrace the OTT operators. For some that “embrace” is an attempt to squeeze the life out of OTT operators by launching their own services, such as VoIP services and apps. For others, the embrace is more comforting, cooperating with the OTT operators, recognising that their customer base represents a potential massive pool of new recruits.

The threat of VoIP, OTT and Apps are now being recognised as opportunities for transformed vigor in attack either through opening up new battlefronts or developing new allies.