Real Time Communications Featured Article

OTT Versus Wi-Fi: Who Will Win?

August 28, 2014

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t own a smartphone these days. The mobile landscape has changed drastically thanks to devices that can do just about everything a desktop computer can do, but without being tied to a cord or desk. Because business professionals and consumers are headed towards a more mobile-centric way of doing things, what does this mean for over-the-top (OTT) services and real-time communications? What does OTT have to do with it?

First, a little OTT 101: an OTT application is an app or service that provides an integrated product over the Internet and bypasses traditional distribution. For smartphones, this means that voice services are transmitted “over the top” of the traditional service you already get with your mobile provider, and doesn’t require any business or technology affiliations with that network operator. Services that come over the top are, if not always, lower in cost than the traditional method of delivery.

The creation of OTT applications has led to a wide-ranging conflict between companies that offer similar or overlapping services. The focus, however, remains on small cell and carrier Wi-Fi networks; how can they compete with OTT providers?

Multi-media applications are also possible through other services like LTE, giving OTT VoIP a grueling run for its money. Apps like instant messaging using file transfer, high quality media streaming and high quality voice can be used simultaneously, making LTE the ultimate contender in future voice revenue.

Operators win by offering higher value added applications, in turn increasing the average revenue per user and maintaining a common core, thus reducing capital expenditures.

So, who will win this battle? It all comes down to who can market best and offer the most. Tune into an upcoming GENBAND webinar that will discuss the details of monetizing small cell and carrier grade Wi-Fi to find out how service providers can compete in this space.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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