Should Telcos Charge OTT Services Providers?

Posted by Erica Berry on Tue, May 13, 2014 @ 06:00 AM

Mobile consumers love OTT services, and for good reason! Mobile OTT services like messaging and calling apps offer the same functionality as those from service providers, but they are typically much cheaper (or free!) and come with some awesome features that surpass the basic calling and SMS capabilities of traditional carriers.

While all this is great for consumers, telco companies are wanting to put an end to the free ride OTT services are giving their users by charging OTT services for leveraging their infrastructure.


So, what does this mean for the industry? Well, at the moment nothing really. Mobile operators are still trying to get the go-ahead to change industry regulations in order to charge OTT services providers, but like with most regulatory changes, it could take a while.

In the meantime, calling and messaging OTT services are fighting back against the proposed changes. For example, a study by A.T. Kearney shows that just watching two minutes of HD video on the phone every day for a month uses up 1.8 gigabytes of data, whereas sending out 100 emails or 100 messages a day for a month uses only 30 megabytes of data – a good reason providers should shift their focus to the Netflix's of the world and leave them alone.

If telcos need another reason to take it easy on OTT services providers, the same study states that global data usage is projected to grow by 66% through 2017, which ultimately means more money in their pockets regardless of how consumers choose to send messages or place calls. So, with more people picking up smartphones and consuming more data per subscriber than ever before, telcos won’t be going out of business anytime soon.

As this fight over bandwidth continues, we’ll keep you up-to-date on what’s happening. For now, we want you to sound off: Should telcos charge OTT services providers? Post your thoughts in the comments below or connect with us on social media – Twitter and Facebook.

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Tags: Communication, Industry Trends, OTT