Virtualization

Margins under pressure: WhatsApp generates three times more daily traffic than SMS

WhatsApp now generates nearly three times as much daily traffic as SMS, according to a new research report from Juniper Research, highlighting the impact on mobile operators’ margins.

The new research, Mobile operator business models: Challenges, opportunities & strategies 2017-2021, analyzes the scale of operators’ traffic decline together with the uptake of over-the-top (OTT) VoIP and message services.

The study calculates that consumers’ shift from operator voice and text services to OTT messaging services and social media will cost network operators nearly $104 billion this year, equivalent to 12 percent of their service revenues.

Juniper also argues that operators will see continued erosion of traffic levels, as most alternative messaging platforms now incorporating or trialing multiple communication options, including group voice or video chat.
whatsapp-vs-sms

New revenues

However, the research highlights measures that operators could take both to halt the decline in core revenues and to develop new sources of income.

These include:

  • Big data and analytics packages for both consumer and IoT (Internet of Things) devices
  • Carrier billing payment options
  • Mobile money services
  • Mobile identity services

The research argues that with mobile increasingly deployed within the context of a quad-play offering, it is essential for telcos to provide consumers with attractive, original content to differentiate themselves.

According to research’s author Dr. Windsor Holden, “With mobile devices now regularly used for primary consumption of video content as well as snacking, operators providing popular film, drama and exclusive sports events over multiple channels are at a distinct advantage.”

This is why many service providers are making moves into the content and apps space – take AT&T’s recent proposal to acquire Time Warner, for example.

The 2020 CSP

In this ongoing “digital storm”, which is creating revenue pressures, new data demand and soaring competition, TM Forum’s Deputy CEO, Nik Willetts, has discussed the urgent need for operators to transform to become 2020 communications service providers (CSP), which he defines as “a company that can provide the underlying infrastructure and a rich set of capabilities that meet customers’ expectations and powers many of the ecosystems we are looking at today, [such as smart city, smart health etc.]”

See more about Nik’s vision for the 2020 CSP and how TM Forum supports operators in their transformation here and in the video below.



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Sarah is a freelance writer and editor with an interest in new technologies and how they impact our everyday lives.

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