Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Tuesday, Feb 25th

Top five OTT trends to impact Africa next year

Top five OTT trends to impact Africa next year.

IT experts suggest that there is an increasing consumer demand for apps that can provide as many functions as possible. It has helped set the scene for the advent of Over-The-Top (OTT) operators and services. There is also a belief in the industry that consumers will drive the direction of parnterships between mobile operators and OTT operators.

Grant Theis, co-founder of ttrumpet, discusses five emerging OTT trends that are likely to impact the continent next year.

1. Successful Over-The-Top (OTT) players will not be simple apps anymore, but rather comprehensive platforms where people can communicate, socialise, shop and pay bills. What's more, there will be a blurring between Voice Over Internet Protocol, Regular calls, E-mail, Instant Messaging, Blogs, Forums, Social Networking etc. The days of providing standard mobile contracts with voice, sms and mms bundles will minimise tremendously. Additionally, with the growth of the BYOD phenomenon there will be a blurring of how people communicate in the workplace, on the move and at home as they generally want to use their preferred devices at all times. The future consumer, who currently falls into the under 25 age group, will predominantly use OTT to run their lives – and it will ultimately become a way of life.

2. OTT will eventually become the de facto way for the telecoms industry to operate i.e. an all IP network. There will be greater co-operation with OTT players and the drive will be on generating profits out of higher data consumption, particularly through the unstoppable rise of video.

3. OTT verticals will emerge. The market won't be dominated by three or four large platforms. This may be in the form of e-health, banking or specific end-to-end connectivity solutions.

4. Wi-Fi will become more public, free and seamless to use with better quality lending further growth impetus to OTT players. We saw a lot more free Wi-Fi initiatives this year and this will certainly continue into 2015. With connectivity and high data costs still a major challenge in Africa, free Wi-Fi means consumers that may have not had access to the internet will be have the opportunity to connect.

5. Barriers between OTT providers and mobile operators will be broken down as it becomes too difficult to regulate and with technology moving rapidly, industry players need to keep up. This, combined with competitive forces, will create an open, pervasive, feature rich and affordable model to the public. The reality is that the consumers will drive the direction the industry takes and forward thinking players will stay ahead of their peers. Consumers want rich content and it's up to industry players to meet this demand.

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