While telcos might have reduced revenue from SMSes, data revenue opportunities have increased considerably. The partnership between a mobile operator and a messaging app provider allows the mobile operator to compensate loss of SMS revenue with high data usage among subscribers. Partnerships of similar nature are catching the eyes of operators across the world. If telcos act fast and smart, these tie-ups can enable telcos to drive data usage and also give them access to messaging app users' database. It's a win-win situation wherein there are benefits to both parties making sure neither lose out either with access to an existing customer base or with opportunities to convert voice into data revenue. Considering a majority of these applications have global presence and impact, the opportunities for app-operator tie-ups is increasingly high.
App-operator partnerships are also a great value proposition for app companies who heavily rely on data offering of the mobile operator. In a mobile-first country like India, where a majority of users access the Internet for the first time on a mobile device, the attractiveness of mobile Internet is extremely vital for app success. The future of communication is being re-defined by communication platforms but the telcos need to actively partner to ensure that the end-consumer is guaranteed maximum return for the money spent.
It will be extremely interesting to see where this convergence of operator service and mobile communication platforms is headed. The boundaries of telco offerings are largely blurring with messaging apps taking over the role that was native to the service provider. The world has been talking off this trend for many years but more sooner than later its effects will be felt by the regular mobile phone user who is all set to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Joby Babu is chief operating officer, Nimbuzz.
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