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Apps from over-the-top (OTT) communications service providers are disrupting mobile markets by offering voice and messaging services with (often) superior user experience at minimal cost. This report quantifies their impact and provides detailed forecasts for operator-provided and OTT communication services in 47 countries and 8 regions worldwide.
- Technological enablers and widespread adoption of mobile Internet access have lowered the barriers to entry in communication services markets. Major Internet players have identified opportunities for market disruption and have entered these markets. These services are not necessarily expected to be major drivers of revenue growth but are usually expected to complement the core business, typically device sales or advertising. The largest Internet players such as Apple and Google are increasingly able to leverage their strengths in the value chain to present their communication services as the defaults in devices.
- Specialist start-ups have also driven innovation in feature sets and supporting business models. The ongoing viability of many of these business models have been a source of speculation, but a number of players have emerged with sizeable user bases and/or profitable businesses. A notable area of innovation has been in ‘social messaging’ where apps combine social networking features such as home pages and timelines with messaging and group chat as well as more advanced picture- and location-sharing features. Apps such as KakaoTalk, Line and WeChat have also demonstrated the possibility of monetising these services with revenue from gaming, advertising and stickers.
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