Forecasts from the global analyst firm Ovum reveal that OTT VoIP will cost the global telecoms industry $479bn in lost cumulative revenues by 2020, which represents 6.9% of cumulative total voice revenues.
However, new research Future of Voice provides some reassurance to operators that are fearful of the demise of traditional telephony. It suggests that although revenues continue to fall, voice traffic is simply shifting rather than collapsing. Carefully targeted price increases are expected to be commonplace as operators try to maintain their revenues.
Yet, Ovum believes that a focus on creating cloud-oriented telephony apps, and efforts to maintain the relevance of telephone numbers will ensure that operators have a place in the future communications landscape.
“Where operators have seen voice telephony as a service without a future, they have chosen to compete on price in an effort to eke out any remaining revenues from the market,” said Jeremy Green, principal telecoms strategy analyst at Ovum.
“However, taking such a pessimistic view obscures some important commercial realities and opportunities in the voice telephony market.”
Taking these factors into consideration the complete collapse of telephony revenues is not likely, according to Ovum, but the long-term trend is towards a richer and more complex communications environment in which voice serves a different function and telephony plays a smaller role. Ovum’s research shows that users have been heavily influenced by their experiences with OTT players’ services, and now expect traditional operators to provide content, relationships, and history within a service, irrespective of device or access method.