Mobile operators should use coverage to compete with OTT services

Mobile operators should press their network coverage to compete with over-the-top operators such as Skype, according to OpenCloud

Mobile operators should use their network coverage to take on over-the-top rivals, according to network systems supplier Opencloud.

Mobile operators often complain about the threat to their revenues from over the top services such as Skype and Facebook chat. But network system provider Opencloud thinks they are in the position to take on those newer services and win.

Mark Windle, head of marketing for Opencloud, told Computer Weekly the ubiquity of mobile phone networks meant the path was clear for the firms to create their own offerings, but they had to engage over-the-top operators and be more competitive.

“When it comes to making calls, mobile operators have the upper hand,” he said. “They control the quality of service, ensuring you move from cell to cell and have, as far as possible, a seamless experience.”

“Have you tried to make a call on a train using Skype? Data connections are not made for such a use.”

With this existing network, Windle believes mobile networks have the starting blocks to create much stronger products to compete with the current dominance of over-the-top brands.

“The quality of service is the fundamental reason any VoIP or video offerings will be better if they come from operators,” Windle said.

Networks might also fear the subscriber numbers Skype is racking up, but this is nothing compared to those with access to a phone line.

“The other advantage operators have is, when you pick up, you can dial four billion people,” said Windle. “Skype doesn’t have that number registered, doesn’t have that many and never will.”

Operators such as Telefonica are starting to make their way into this space with low-end applications like TU Me, designed to enable voice and video calls using the mobile data allowance on a user’s contract.

While this is a segment Windle agrees needs to be addressed, it is the future VoIP products, or voice over LTE, that will secure the future of mobile operators faced with the threat of over the top services.

“The ubiquity should be leveraged by mobile operators and can re-establish them as leaders in this area,” Windle said.

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