Over-the-top (OTT) messaging applications might be cannibalizing SMS traffic but they are fuelling data growth which is creating a new revenue source for telecom companies, says Hike messenger founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal. Also Read - Instagram 'Live Rooms' now allows 3 more users in India
“I think we are in this middle phase where OTT messaging might be cannibalizing SMS traffic… but because of services like us, Whatsapp and Facebook, people are buying data packs and the real growth is almost like monstrous,” he told PTI. Kavin, son of Bharti group chairman Sunil Mittal said, because of a disruptive business model of OTT players, people are consuming their services which is also enabling a very large new entry revenue source for telecom operators. Also Read - WhatsApp brings custom wallpaper, adds improvements to stickers
Over-the-top (OTT) content refers to delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without a multiple- system operator being involved in the control or distribution of the content. “If there are no OTT players, why would people buy data,” he said. Differing with OTT players like Skype, Hike and Whatsapp, which feel market should shape the evolving ecosystem, telecom operators had sought sectoral regulator Trai’s intervention for a better level-playing field with Internet companies. “We want some kind of regulatory help to get a level playing field. There are so many regulations binding on us but the same don’t exist for OTT players,” telecom industry veteran TV Ramachandran had said on behalf of operators at seminar organised by Trai “Regulatory Framework for OTT services”. Also Read - How to change WhatsApp phone number without losing chats
Ramachandran had said licence conditions bind telecom operators but not OTT players. As per data shared by PwC Managing Consultant Neeraj Kataria, it is estimated that Skype, which offers free Skype to Skype phone calls using Internet, is costing telecom industry around US 36 billion/year globally. “I think one of the biggest difference is that telecom and SMS is fully regulated whereas OTT messaging in terms of content of messages is not regulated thats something we should talk more than charging OTTs for a fee,” Kavin said.
Kavin said regulations on OTT players currently are very light thats why they are able to grow fast and it should continue like that. “If a government body comes to us and talks to us and say we need data, we don’t store messages but whatever we have we are ready to disclose and thats the case with everybody else…thats something given globally,” he added.