MTN SA calls for telcos, OTT players collaboration
from MTHULISI SIBANDA in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – A SENIOR industry official has called for co-operation between mobile network operators and Over the Top (OTT) players to develop an ecosystem that will be beneficial to both.
Ahmad Farroukh, Chief Executive Officer of MTN South Africa, said operators could be in complete control of the internet ecosystem while a broadband pipe that lacks appealing content and applications means little to end users.
He further said mobile network operators and OTT players can either fight off each other or opt to work in partnership to define access and structure a fair deal for both parties.
“On one hand, we need to stress that there should be no free ride for OTT players, mobile network operators will protect their customer base and revenue streams. Rules of engagement will have to be defined between operators and OTT players.
“Involvement of global forums that represent operators such as the GSMA will most likely be necessary to define the rules of engagement,” said Farroukh ath the ongoing 17th edition of AfricaCom.
The event, said to be the biggest in the industry in the continent, is holding in Cape Town, South Africa, where about 9 000 delegates have converged.
To be a truly successful, Farroukh said, OTT players and mobile network operators have to go for a bigger customer base beyond their own customer base and leverage on global reach.
He said that this is where partnerships will play an important role.
“Mobile network operators have made substantial capital investment in licensing and spectrum, acquiring and building their customer base and investing in building trusted brands.
“Operators have been catalysts and economies enablers and have contributed significantly to the fiscal budgets of many economies – all of this not to be shared for free,” said Farroukh.
Collaboration between operators and OTT players have immense benefits for both parties, he explained, as it would enable the operators to leverage the wider capabilities of smart phones and enrich core communication services for existing subscribers while continuing to invest in Technology that provides the best Customer experience for OTT users.
Farroukh said that operator’s strategies are likely to contain a combination of own OTT services and partnerships with third parties.
“Rules of engagement will have to be defined between operators and OTT players. Mobile network operators and OTT players should work together for their mutual benefit and for the benefit of their shared stakeholder – the end user,” he concluded.
– CAJ News
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