Sunday, May 13, 2012

Verizon: "In the long view, over-the-top is important”

A number of telecom analysts have addressed the issue of OTT services and how MNOs should treat the threat to their legacy voice and messaging services during the recent months (see posts on Analysys Mason, Yankee Group, and Informa, Ovum).

It  seems that the message went through. The largest, global carriers accept the general idea - to partner and/or offer their own services. A recent example is Telefonica (see  "Introducing TU Me: the free all-in-one communications app from Telefónica" - here, pictured) that uses the JaJah technology it acquired more than 2 years ago to compete with the likes of Skype and Google Voice.

What about the US MNOs? Brad Smith reports to Wireless Week on a panel discussion that took place during the CTIA wireless 2012 show last week, with representatives from Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and VoIP/OTT providers Viber Media and Google Voice.

Few quotes from the happy carrier guys:
  • Brad Duea (pictured), SVP of marketing for T-Mobile USA: "We view this as an opportunity .. When you look at T-Mobile’s history, you see we want to power your communications everywhere. We don’t want islands of communities
  • Brian Higgins, VP of network and tech for Verizon Wireless: "Verizon sees services as one of its key strengths in the future .. We’re building our own services that compete with over-the-top players but also are helping them .. In the long view, over-the-top is important .. Verizon and other operators provide many services to their customers and not just access. He said communications is complicated enough that customer service is critical to helping consumers choose services and devices and teach them how to use them”.
Viber’s Marco said "traditional telecom operators are going to be network providers that provide access". 
See "CTIA: OTT Services as Next Battleground" - here.
A somehow related story shows what happened to Marco (pictured) few days ago aboard a Delta flight (see "Delta Calls Cops on Viber Exec for Using His Own VoIP App In-Flight" - here). The article explains that "While passengers are welcome to access the web, U.S. airlines offering WiFi service block the use of inflight calling using Skype or similar applications. This is not an FAA restriction; they are simply responding to the overwhelming majority of their customers, who prefer silent communications to the public nature of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) calls".

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