PTA ordered mobile phone companies to offer Over The Top (OTT) services

PTA ordered mobile phone companies to offer Over The Top (OTT) services

Islamabad (Wednesday, March 20, 2013) – Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has suggested mobile phone operators to offer their own branded over-the-top (OTT) services mainly social media platforms in order to increase their revenues manifolds in the future.

PTA Logo - Pakistan Telecom AuthorityPakistan Telecom  authority recommended cellular operators to set a monthly or annual fee against the OTT services backwardly compatible with SMS, and integrated into their bundle plans so users purchase a messaging bundle including SMS and MMS.

Operators should think of attractive OTT services, which have been getting popularity among the users of mobile phones in Pakistan, to maintain their revenues, it said. YouTube, Skype, Facebook, Google Talk and WhatsApp Messenger, are major examples of OTT services. Currently, the operators are just offering operator-specific marketing but need to plan better offerings for their subscribers. The consumers worldwide are shifting to the use of OTT apps, same trend is likely to be followed in Pakistan as SMS traffic will reduce resulting in reduced SMS revenues.

PTA directed operators that the tariffs advertised on different media for OTT services should be inclusive of taxes for the clarity and ease of users.

The revenues of mobile phone operators through SMS have been on the decline due to cut-throat competition among the sector though the volume of text messages has been on the rise.

Operators offer SMS bundles to their customers and gradually decrease the tariff of text messages one after another which contracted their revenues through SMS.

In 2012, the revenues through SMS reached to Rs 10 billion as per estimate against 280 billion text messages. The revenues were recorded at 22.5 billion for generating 175.6 billion text messages in 2010. Besides, the cellular operators should introduce local and international apps to enhance their revenues streams.

There is a need for a comprehensive business model for the international apps that are being offered to local mobile customers, in the form of a policy in order to handle government taxes, national security and legal intercept, foreign exchange transfer and business venture with local operators.

The cellular operators should plan to offer a platform that allows their subscribers to opt for their area of interest to have marketing updates and messages on.

Location-Based Services should be enhanced and extended to applications where the subscribers can easily pull the location based information as and when required.

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