I think the "war" on OTT from the carriers perspective is more or less lost. It is now more about running down the clock and eking out as much revenue as possible.
A more pressing problem going
forward is not the death of SMS or other services exposed to OTT, it is
the failure to be open to innovation as well as often times missing out
on strategic openings that are much more closely aligned with the
carriers strengths than fighting OTT.
Carriers are as
organizations uniquely ill qualified to "out-innovate" the OTT crowd.
Not only do they not have the culture, organizational speed or even
knowledge internally, they are also absolutely blocked from doing so by
ARPU focus and quaterly earnings reports. It is just not going to happen.
There is a way forward though for carriers. It
means partially embracing the concept of becoming a dumb pipe. Ie,
tossing out most of what is not focused on the customer experience which
is primarily centered around sales, customer support as well as
enhancing the network experience. If this slimmed down block of "old
carrier" is coupled with a small, nimble API-like services organization
that can quickly integrate OTT or OTT-like services that have been
developed externally into the aggregate customer offering, value can
again be projected towards customers.
The main problem
is not that early stage (who do not yet have 300M users) OTT outfits do
not want to engage with carriers, they do, it is that there is no way
for them to reliably interface with carriers. Often times there is
simply nobody home when they call.
As I mentioned
previously, there are also strategic steps that carriers can take to
extract more revenue out of existing relationships, especially on the
corporate client side which is very under served beyond basic BlackBerry
services. This is a significant contributing factor to the drive for
BYOD in addition to the rapid development of consumer HW.
competitive plans, device pricing etc is a good first step but there is
so much more than that if the carriers want to stay relevant going
forward. They have to rethink their business model from the ground up.