Global research firm, Juniper, has revealed that Over the Top (OTT) services platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, among others, will continue to eat more into telecom operators’ SMS revenue.
The report also projected that business messaging traffic on OTTs will rise from 93 billion in 2023 to 254 billion by 2027.
According to Juniper, aside from individuals, businesses globally are now shifting to OTT platforms for all their messaging needs. In a Whitepaper titled: ‘Evolving the Conversation with OTT Business Messaging,’ Juniper Research noted that businesses will continue to embrace OTT platforms because of their lack of, or lower, costs for messaging compared with telecom operators’ messaging services.
Growth factor: Projecting further growth in the use of the OTT platforms by businesses, the company said:
“Juniper Research has found that global OTT business messaging traffic will rise from 93 billion in 2023, to 254 billion by 2027. This growth of 172% will be driven by the increased availability of open OTT messaging APIs and competitive pricing models; creating a viable rich media alternative to established operator-led channels, such as SMS.”
Fraud threat: The report, however, pointed out that the rapid growth of OTTs also exposes users to different forms of fraud as the platforms are not regulated.
“The growth of OTT business messaging represents a large and emerging market that can be targeted by fraudulent players who will have access to subscribers on a global scale. As OTT messaging uses the Internet for connectivity, messages bypass mobile networks and are therefore not subjected to the same security measures as SMS including SMS firewalls.
“As mentioned earlier, OTT applications are regulated independently and do not conform to any regulatory bodies. This makes these channels more susceptible to fraudulent activity due to the lack of industry-wide security”.
Telecommunications operators in Nigeria had in the past years complained bitterly about the operations of the OTTs in Nigeria, alleging that they are eating deep into their SMS revenue. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), however, pointed out that the telecom operators should not see WhatsApp and co as competitors as they are helping them (the telcos) to drive an increase in data usage.
Despite the OTT threat to telecoms SMS revenue, telecom operators in Nigeria recorded an increase in SMS as of 2021, according to data from NCC.