Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blueprint: VoLTE, WebRTC and IoT Igniting Mobile Operators in 2015

by Thorsten Trapp, Cofounder and CTO of tyntec 

Reflecting on 2014, the year was an inspired one for mobile innovation. With the growing popularity of OTT messaging services and IP-based communication technologies, new opportunities have emerged for all players in the ecosystem – MNOs, enterprises and OTT players – to streamline, expand and increase the quality of communication offerings.

Over the course of 2015, we’ll see a paradigm shift in how operators approach their role and respond to changing market conditions. Operators will have to bring the outside in to strategize and implement innovations in order to find new ways to reinsert traditional telecom services into the communications equation. By leveraging the power of VoLTE, tapping the growing use of WebRTC in businesses and exploring opportunities with OTT and IoT – operators will attempt to regain a foothold in the market.  Advancements on those fronts will compel enterprises to streamline, expand and improve the mobility they provide for their employees and customers. As they increasingly move to the Cloud, enterprises will see the residual benefits from new mobile innovations.

Uptick in MNO Consolidation 

For the telecom industry, 2014 can best be categorized as a tumultuous year for MNOs. Over the last 12-months, we saw several record-setting funding and valuations of OTT messaging service providers including, Kik ($38M funding), Tango ($1.5B valuation), not to mention Facebook’s $19B acquisition of WhatsApp. All of which, fueled OTT’s growth and diminished operator revenues.

In 2015, MNOs will feel heightened pressure as market forces continue to escalate. Traffic and revenue from traditional telco services will decline at a rapid rate as a result of increased OTT adoption and declining ARPU, leading to the acquisition of smaller operators. Those MNOs who are able to weather the storm will be forced to shift their strategies from multi-local to central. Additionally, more telcos will seek out partnerships in an effort to monetize OTT services.

VoLTE Will Help Operators Level The Playing Field
Amidst MNO market consolidation, operators looking to shift strategies will look to VoLTE to help level the playing field and remain competitive with OTT providers and mobile VoIP services. As subscribers consume more data, MNOs will be looking to offload voice traffic onto data networks, which have historically been kept separate as a result of legacy infrastructure. More and more, we’re seeing MNOs move from classical telephony to pure SIP (VoIP) – a significant shift in business model and a winning strategy for MNOs seeking an all-IP approach.

In 2015, the industry can expect even broader adoption of VoLTE as MNOs continue offloading voice traffic to newly built-out LTE networks. Along the way, we anticipate seeing a few headline-worthy outages as carriers struggle to cope with increasing system requirements caused by ever-growing bandwidth demands.

WebRTC Will Elevate Value Of Legacy Communication Services In The Enterprise  

With more enterprises moving to the Cloud, WebRTC and APIs for telecommunication services are seeing wider business adoption due to their ability to achieve interoperability and provide a more seamless communication experience. For those businesses that rely on legacy communication services in the office, integrating traditional services such as, phone numbers and SMS, with WebRTC and telecom APIs is creating a compelling business communication solution. In this approach, phone numbers are becoming unique identifiers in the enterprise, helping to connect employees across the multiple communication channels they use on a daily basis.

In the New Year, WebRTC, coupled with easy-to-use APIs for telecommunication services, will make enterprises embrace the idea of using phone numbers as unique identifiers to provide seamless communications in and out of the office.

MNO Opportunity with the IoT Will Fall Short 

The ubiquity of mobile communications is fueling new growth opportunities into this not-so-new concept of linking devices to facilitate machine-to-machine communication (M2M). But while the IoT has sparked growth strategies for MNOs, the current business model of MNOs is not compatible with IoT. The high infrastructure cost and low ARPU creates a significant barrier for MNOs to think and act in the speed that’s required to exploit the opportunities. Regardless, some operators are still driven to make a business case for it. Only the ones who can take advantage of external, specialized platforms optimized for the IoT economy of scale will be able to turn IoT into a revenue-generating machine.

In 2015, we’ll see some MNOs try to capitalize on IoT but the resulting initiatives will not help their bottom line. Regardless, some operators will still be driven by the established KPIs and approach it as a way to add as many SIM cards as possible without a solid business case for it.

Despite evolving market conditions, traditional telecommunications services such as mobile numbers will continue to play a foundational role in mobile innovation. That said, MNOs face transformation in the year ahead. With help from IP-based communication technologies, VoLTE and emerging partnership opportunities, operators will learn to adapt in 2015.

About the Author

Thorsten Trapp is the co-founder and CTO of tyntec. He is a highly regarded mobile industry expert with over 20 years’ experience in the space.

Based in the company’s technical headquarters in Dortmund – where he studied computer science and biology at the Technical University – Thorsten developed the company's Mobile Messaging platform architecture which powers tyntec’s core business and is chiefly responsible for the company’s technical innovations and intellectual property. In this capacity he authored all nine of tyntec’s patent families and has been named in 33 patent applications in total. Amongst others, he is the inventor of tyntec’s dynamic SS7 platform, its Mobile Number Portability System and disruptive tt.One product.

  About tyntec

tyntec is a global mobile messaging operator and cloud communications provider founded on the Isle of Man. Its main offices are in Munich and Dortmund, Germany. It operates offices in London, Singapore, San Francisco and on the Isle of Man.

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