The ongoing battle with OTT

I’m responsible for researching and developing the programme for the Broadband World Forum and today I’ve been reading about the intensifying pressure the world’s largest operator, China Mobile, is coming under from OTT. In a recent statement, the company reported that performance had been seriously impacted by “new technologies and services that are replacing traditional communications services.”

So what else is new? Are we really surprised that China’s experience is much different from more mature markets?

I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert in the industry, but to get a feeling for the most popular issues and pressing concerns and facing the industry, (which in turn forms the basis for the structure of content of the Broadband World Forum agenda), I do spend a lot of my time speaking to operators, analysts, vendors/solution providers, government and regulators, and OTT companies.

Overwhelmingly, the most talked about issue and most frequent operator gripe is about the challenge of OTT. Certainly at Mobile World Congress this year at lot of time was spent by industry heavy weights talking about the ‘burdens’ of OTT. OTT is eating away at their revenues they say, and placing huge amounts of pressure on their networks.

While I don’t mean to make light of the serious concerns facing telecoms operators such as China Mobile, in my view, surely now the conversation needs to shift to something slightly more productive.

There are some really exciting initiatives and strategies emerging which explore how to use OTT as a way to re-claim the customer relationship and even…wait for it…capture new revenue! These are the really interesting discussions I want to hear more about, and this is where we want to move the debate toward at Broadband World Forum this year.

Have you got a view on this? Let us know in the comments?

Frankie Brewer, BBWF Conference Organiser

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