OpenCloud 2014 trends and predications
Date: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 16:22 Source:
By Mark Windle, Head of Marketing at OpenCloud
The roll-out of LTE has been a significant event in 2013 and the market is already extremely competitive. Operators are naturally keen to sign up consumers to their new superfast networks and make a return on their spectrum investment
The Internet is about to change how we make “telephone calls” – and Consumer to Business (C2B) will be the first telecom area that experiences change in 2014. WebRTC and HTML5 will be the catalysts, as they allow real-time voice and video communication from within the browser
PHOTO / telecomkh.com
However, the provision of high capacity data access means operators are at increasing risk of just becoming commodity bit pipes, as competing OTT communications applications become more viable for mass consumer adoption. That doesn’t have to happen if operators innovate and use the resources they have available.
In 2014, expect some interesting new ideas from operators to protect their revenues and reconnect with the consumer, as they take advantage of new communication technologies and transition to all-IP networks. However, if operators are too conservative, then the old adage “he who hesitates is lost” could become their epitaph.
Consumers Bored of Hearing the Same Ol’ Voice
Over the next year, operators will launch Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services. Currently, several LTE enabled operators only offer voice over their legacy networks, using LTE for data and circuit switch fall back to GSM for voice. This approach doesn’t take advantage of the benefits of the IP network for voice or, in fact, use it at all, offering the same service we have today without the ability to implement new features or services that come with moving to an IP network.
For those launching VoLTE there are two stages. Stage one is to roll-out basic Voice-over-LTE services – again, adding no new voice capabilities and not taking much advantage of the IP network. As consumers won’t notice anything different in their voice services, it could lead to further erosion of voice-market-share, as operators lose out to more agile and innovative OTT alternatives (WhatsApp, Google, Viber, etc.).
In 2014, we expect there will be a few savvy operators that jump straight in at Stage two - launching some interesting new voice services, exclusive to an all-IP environment, with real innovation and differentiators. This will enable these operators to gain an advantage over their peers and successfully compete with OTT brands in the battle for voice market-share.
Internet Kills the Freephone Star
The internet is about to change how we make “telephone calls” – and Consumer to Business (C2B) will be the first telecom area that experiences change in 2014. WebRTC and HTML5 will be the catalysts, as they allow real-time voice and video communication from within the browser.
There are two very big reasons why WebRTC will become the new norm for C2B customer service calls. The first is the better calling experience for the customer; the other is the billions that the businesses are spending every year with telecom operators (in the UK alone the figure exceeds £1B per annum). Because WebRTC does not define the protocol used to set up and control calls, variants will emerge, fragmenting the communications landscape. This creates a “many to many” communication problem – a problem that every operator is familiar with solving. Whilst it may not be a replacement for all of the lost revenue, providing a real-time WebRTC-Telephony and WebRTC-WebRTC integration hub may well prove to be a significant communications interconnect opportunity for forward-thinking Telcos in 2014.
And the Beat Goes On for a Genuine Pan-European Telecom Service Provider
Throughout 2013, Neelie Kroes has been promoting the idea of pan-European telecom service providers and consolidation of European telecoms into a genuine single telecoms market. In addition, operators have been lobbying to be allowed to realise cross-country economies of scale, especially as they roll out their expensive LTE networks. Commercially and politically, a pan-European telecom service provider makes sense and we could end up seeing the first-sightings of one in 2014.
Who will be the first is unknown, but it is likely to come from one of two camps. The first is the operating groups with a good footprint in the EU, such as Deutsche Telecom/T-Mobile Group and Vodafone. They will be motivated by cost savings in further rationalising their organisations. Alternatively, it might be multi-regional MVNOs, such as Lebara or Virgin Mobile, which already have centralised services and can expand their footprint by exploiting EU policies, such as the Alternative Roaming Provider legislation that comes into effect next year.