OTT survey shows operators willing to partner...

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...but less willing to take steps required to do so?

Amdocs has released selected findings of a survey of 100 operators, OTT players and device makers that explores attitudes toward partnering between communications service providers, “over-the-top” (OTT) players and device manufacturers. The research found that each of these groups acknowledged the importance of forming strategic partnerships to achieve business growth – even though each is heavily invested in owning the all-important customer experience.

Key findings of the survey, conducted by leading research firm Coleman Parkes, include:

  • The battle continues over who owns the customer: sixty-six percent of service providers say they must own the customer in any partnering agreement, while only 13% of device manufacturers and 14% of OTT players are prepared to envision a future in which they cede ownership of the customer experience
  • Everyone agrees on service providers’ unique core assets: while it’s not surprising that service providers rate their brand strength, network quality and customer data as their core assets, the survey found that both over-the-top players and device manufacturers largely agreed. The broad consensus on service providers’ key assets bodes well for services providers and provides a solid foundation for partnering.
  • Service providers increasingly see OTT players as potential partners and sources of innovation: counter to conventional wisdom, the survey found that 70 percent of service providers view OTT players as potential partners, rather than a threat. Sixty-four percent of service providers say that OTT players bring innovation to the industry. And yet, 42 percent of service providers said they could offer any service an OTT player can deliver – but better.
  • A cautious willingness to share core assets: the survey found that the three groups are willing to offer and expose their core assets to achieve partnering goals: 74 percent of OTT players and 73 percent of device makers are willing to expose and share their core assets. Even more notably, 56 percent of service providers are also willing to do so.
  • “What’s in it for me?”  Different players have different reasons for partnering. While all three groups view partnerships as a means to raise revenues and cut costs, they also have separate motivations: 40 percent of service providers are looking to extend network reach through partnerships, while 34 percent view partnerships as a tool for developing new products and services. Device manufacturers ranked the ability to deliver a seamless experience as well as quality of service (QoS), a key service provider attribute, as a key value in partnering and 69 percent of OTT players cite QoS as important to their ability to compete and survive.

“It’s a whole new partnership landscape for service providers,” said Ian Parkes of Coleman Parkes. “While service providers used to form partnerships mainly for roaming and with device manufacturers, today they must navigate a more complex environment full of over-the-top, Internet, financial settlement and other players. Our research goal was to explore this new world, and we were surprised that service providers view OTT players as an opportunity, not a threat, and by the broad agreement on the value of service providers’ core assets.”

“One of the key findings of this research is that while service providers, device manufacturers and over-the-top players may have different sets of interest, they increasingly recognise the need for collaboration and partnership to achieve common goals,” said Rebecca Prudhomme, Amdocs vice president for product and solutions marketing. “To partner effectively, service providers need a trusted advisor to help them clarify their strategies. Successful partnerships demand open and effective partner management systems for revenue sharing, easy onboarding of new partners, high quality of system (QoS), and a winning customer experience that is only possible with integrated IT systems that effectively leverage the customer data.”

The survey is based on quantitative research involving 100 telephone interviews among executive decision makers at service providers, OTT players and device manufacturers across North America, Caribbean and Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The research was conducted between June and July 2012 by Coleman Parkes.