September 26, 2013 04:39 ET

Analyst Research Finds OTT Communications Market to be Worth $53.7 Billion By 2017

- 2.1 billion users of WhatsApp, Skype and WeChat by 2017

- China has 71% of the entire global OTT user base

- Skype is costing the telecoms industry $100 million per day

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Sept. 26, 2013) - Mobile interaction specialist, tyntec, today announced new sponsored research, which was conducted by analyst house mobilesquared. It reveals that the Over The Top (OTT) communications market is set to be worth $53.7 billion and have 2.1 billion smartphone users communicating by OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype and WeChat by 2017. The whitepaper titled 'OTT Services Blow Up the Mobile Universe. Operators Must Act Now!' carried out primary research involving surveyed more than 40 MNOs (mobile network operators) and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) in 68 countries and illustrates stunning results:

  • The rise of OTT messaging services can be attributed to the dramatic up-take of smartphones. By the end of 2013 there will be 1.6 billion smartphone users with this set to almost double by 2017 to 3.1 billion users.
  • One of the most substantial statistics to be exposed is that Skype is costing the telecoms industry $100 million per day, which equates to $36.5 billion a year. This is due to the amount of traffic the service generates - their 280 million active users spend 2 billion minutes per day on Skype. 43% of mobile operators now say that Skype presents a major threat to their revenues especially now that it has the backing of Microsoft since its acquisition in 2011.
  • WhatsApp has grown by 233% in just 12 months and now has 300 million users globally. In that time, WhatsApp daily messages 'sent' have increased from 2 billion to 10 billion, further illustrating the rapid up-take of OTT services.
  • The top 5 smartphone-based OTT markets led by China include: the USA, Brazil, India and Germany, which cumulatively total 624.1 million users and account for 67% of the total global user base.
  • China has 445.9 million of the entire global OTT user base due to the popularity of WeChat which is comprised of 400 million users and doubled its user base from 100 million to 200 million in just 6 months.
  • Other fast-growing OTT services include KakaoTalk in South Korea which reports over 80 million users and Japan's Line, which has 140 million users.
  • Of the operators interviewed, 14% claimed that OTT services have created a loss of messaging revenue of more than 21% in the last year. This is in part due to the rise of people adopting OTT services as over one-fifth of operators expect more than 50% of their subscribers to be using OTT.

Combatting the threat of OTT services

The number of operators reporting no reduction in messaging revenues has sharply deteriorated from 62% in 2012 to a mere 36% in 2013. Additionally, the number of operators able to generate revenues by charging for mobile data reports a steady yearly decline: 20% in 2013, down from 26% in 2012 and 50% in 2011, respectively.

Although some mobile operators have attempted or offered their own OTT-like services, this option is largely losing its appeal and was reflected by 21% of mobile operators in 2013 claiming to be interested, down from 26% in 2012. This could be related to integration complexity or inability of proposed offerings, like RCS-e, to launch on a timely basis. Mobile operators have shown to be taking advantage of the opportunity OTT services presents and report an increase in partnering with OTT providers, up from 32% in 2012 to 36% in 2013.

Revenues reside in the cloud

Mobile operators can tap into the OTT opportunity as the subsequent impact of more OTT users presents a marked increase in traffic termination. This corresponds to the fact that the revenues generated by OTT off-net traffic termination are set to increase from $7.9 billion in 2013 to $53.7 billion in 2017.

"Mobile operators need to act now as OTT services continue to chip away at their messaging revenues. The move towards working in partnership with OTT providers instead of blocking or imposing surcharges looks like an increasingly favourable strategy. Whilst it does present some threats for mobile operators, there are also lucrative opportunities to take advantage of - built on assets that operators already have in place, such as renting mobile numbers or terminating OTT traffic," explained José Garcia, Vice President Sales and Carrier Relations at tyntec.

Partnering with OTT providers becomes an appealing opportunity

"The OTT market continues to accelerate thanks to the rise in demand for smartphones and the desire to communicate at the lowest available cost," Nick Lane, Chief Analyst at mobilesquared, added. "Mobile operators are under increasing pressure to ensure they too can maximise the OTT opportunity as best they can. Blocking or ignoring the OTT challenge is a dangerous and short-term strategy that will only alienate customers. The solution is to either evolve and innovate existing voice and messaging services, or to partner with OTT service providers."

For the last decade, tyntec has been facilitating mutually beneficial relationships between operators and internet companies on a global scale. Partnering with tyntec enables operators to generate revenues from off-net access. This can include renting mobile phone numbers, additional SMS services, voice and data traffic or branded app services.

For more information, download the free whitepaper and infographic.


Research was conducted by mobilesquared during May and June 2013. The Mobilesquared global mobile operator database and OTT service providers and vendors were questioned using both an online survey, and a set of face to face interviews and briefings. Forecasts were compiled using a six-stage process which was applied to 68 different markets, taking into account subscriptions, smartphone and OTT penetration and other key data points.

About tyntec

tyntec is a mobile interaction specialist, enabling businesses to integrate mobile telecom services for a wide range of uses - from enterprise mission-critical applications to internet services. The company reduces the complexity involved in accessing the closed and complex telecoms world by providing a high quality, easy-to-integrate and global offering using universal services such as SMS, voice and numbers.

Founded in 2002, and with more than 150 staff in six offices around the globe, tyntec works with 500+ businesses including mobile service providers, enterprises and internet companies.

About mobilesquared

mobilesquared is the best provider of intelligence and insight on the mobile sector. We excel at conducting dynamic research and writing amazing copy. Our core team of journalists-turned-analysts have been covering the mobile space since phones were like bricks, and this experience allows us to analyse and strategise our findings and transform into outstanding reports for clients, whether for internal use (e.g. market positioning) or external (e.g. white papers, quarterly publications), even presentations. And because we're small, we're flexible, completely independent, and very cost-effective. Learn more about how we can help you by paying our site a visit www.mobilesquared.co.uk.

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