The direct impact of chatbots, IM, or any messaging service on a telecom operator (MNO) starts up with revenue dip for voice services; however, a thorough look at the issue shows it is more than that! MNO’s are losing the war to own the subscriber. With such applications that are taking over the mobile ecosystem, MNO’s are becoming a mere mode of connectivity. Losing a huge percentage of their voice revenues to such apps, they are in battle for the ownership of the subscriber, with all his info & digital commerce activities.
In 2006, handset manufacturers tried their luck with proposing a SIM-less phone. The resistance was so immense by the MNO’s and SIM vendors that the battle was lost the minute it was proposed. Today, the whole picture is different. In the background of the portrait, the MNO’s stand helpless since their role is being minimized to data connectivity operator. With big players like Facebook, Apple, & Google, who currently own the subscribers & their data (whether MNO’s like it or not), it is a matter of time before a new evolution comes up. More IM & chatbots applications are coming up: imo, WeChat, Line, etc.
The rise of a new data technology that requires no SIM card would end the MNO’s role in terms of traditional telecom ecosystem that we know. A new era would rise making way to such companies to take out such MNO’s. How would the ecosystem change? Let us wait the upcoming techs & trends.
Been around three countries recently (2014) in the Middle East and how people are using their handset & how countries are setting up the rules is not so promising. In Lebanon & Saudi Arabia, although there is a rule regarding using your mobile phone while driving, over 40% of drivers are using their handsets while driving, mostly typing or reading while driving. OTT has become a very hazardous enabler in these countries since the police is not fining OTT-drivers (let us call them that).
On the other hand, in UAE, what I have noticed is that people rarely use their handsets while driving, whether OTT or talking over phone. The reason: huge fines & black points on your driving license! If you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, the police will take you to court & fine you some hefty amount of money.
OTT & mobile tech helps us make out life simpler & easier, not a tool a death! Drive carefully. Don’t OTT & drive.
So you think your mobile is safe and that you are protected by your antivirus! Well, your mobile is safe until you give the permission to share your data. Upon installing applications like TrueCaller, you give the application access to your address book. Thus the application uploads all your contact cards and stores your address book into the company’s server.
So all your contacts are shared. All your family contacts are shared. All your friends contacts are shared. All you business contacts are shared. What happens to this data?! This is shared with millions of people around the world without the consent of your contacts (family, friends, business contacts, acquaintances).
Most probably this data will become the biggest centralized contact data storage in the world (always updated). Truecaller might sell premium services to customers who are willing to pay for such data.
So in other words, YOU are a big threat to your data by giving such applications access to your info and data.
In my previous blog regarding OTT applications & revenue, a lot of peers have messaged me agreeing, commenting, or offering their services. I read all the comments (most preferred not being published) and several were from vendors regarding MNO’s developing their own OTT applications (through their companies). This has always been a tricky dilemma for me: “Why re-invent the wheel!”