A new survey has revealed that 60% of consumers are undecided as to whether an OTT service provider or a mobile operator is able to deliver the best voice and video communication services. The findings indicate the competitive threat posed by OTT providers to mobile operators is not as certain as the industry believes and there is still opportunity for operators to develop services that are more attractive to the consumer.
The YouGov survey commissioned by OpenCloud, the telecoms software innovator, canvassed consumers across the UK, US and continental Europe. Over a third of the adult population covered by the survey use OTT services, with over half (52%) using their phone to access these applications. Usage is particularly high among 25-34 year olds (66%). It was also found that the majority of consumers (65%) tend to use only one OTT application on their mobile phone. The survey revealed a number of disadvantages to using OTT services and an interest in equivalent services provided by mobile operators.
Respondents felt mobile operators would be more proficient in the provision of OTT-style services than current OTT providers. When asked if they felt that an operator-run service would outperform one delivered by an OTT provider, for those that actually favoured one over the other, the balance was clearly in favour of the mobile operator. This applied across a number of criteria including quality of voice (70%) reliability of connection (65%) and the ability to make calls on the move (81%). A quarter of all users aged between 35 and 44 expressed reservations about the “cost” of using OTT services and the impact this had on their data allowance.
Although mobile OTT services are perceived to be ‘cool’ and ‘fun’ brands and they do tend to influence consumers based on the ‘hip factor’ users attach to them, 42% of consumers associate the phrase ‘Services I trust’ with a mobile operator. Nearly half of respondents (45%) state their operator offers ‘Good Value’. However, when it comes to innovation, the OTT providers scored twice as many ‘votes’ from consumers than the mobile operators.
“The general consensus across the industry has been that the increasing popularity of OTT services, such as Skype, has marked the death knell for core voice communication services provided by mobile operators. While OTT services have definitely won market-share, this survey indicates that they have failed to win consumers’ hearts and minds. That battle is by no means over,” says Jonathan Bell, VP of Product Marketing at OpenCloud.
“There’s a clear opportunity for someone to gain dominance in the market. The OTT brands may be fashionable but consumers appear to believe that the network operators can do better. To do that operators will need to address both the perception and reality of their levels of service innovation. However, in order to preserve or improve on the comparatively neutral position regarding ‘good value’ it is vital that innovation is enabled in a cost-efficient manner. That’s a key challenge for the operator,” he concluded.
John Gilbert, Consulting Director YouGov Tech/Tel, explains, “The market intelligence we provide can reveal new and interesting consumer trends relating to mobile phone usage. The survey was conducted across a number of key global markets to provide a better understanding of consumer attitudes towards OTT services. The results of the study have demonstrated that we can anticipate OTT-related services to continue to grow but consumers are becoming more selective about the type of services they consume on their devices and that they are, to some extent, undecided about their choice of service provider. An operator-driven proposition may be well-received by this market.”
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