Success in a New Era of Voice

November 5, 2014 Christian Michaud

Despite market challenges, voice is still a relevant market. People still make voice calls and service providers can make money by delivering voice services. In 2013, Tata Communications carried 53 billion minutes of wholesale international voice calls, which works out to over one billion per week. Market dynamics have certainly changed but the opportunity to drive profitability with voice services is still there.

With the expected arrival of voice calling on Over-the-Top (OTT) messaging app WhatsApp in the near future there is growing pressure on existing players in the voice market. WhatsApp had 450 million monthly users when it was acquired by Facebook and is projected to have a billion users by 2015. When these users are given calling capabilities, the voice market will see another competitor disrupt the market.

It is a story we’ve seen before where a new competitor like an OTT messaging service, Social Network or VoIP calling service leads a shift away from fixed-line voice services and, in turn,creates stagnant international voice traffic and declining margins. We know that this is happening and,with Web RTC speeding up the shift, what matters is how we adjust, adapt and find new ways to be profitable in voice.

 

Despite the market challenges, voice is still a relevant market. People still make voice calls and service providers can make money by delivering voice services. In 2013, Tata Communications carried 53 billion minutes of wholesale international voice calls, which works out to over one billion per week. Market dynamics have certainly changed, but the opportunity to drive profitability with voice services is still there.

We see three steps to successfor international voice providers and Mobile Network Operators in this new voice market.

Real-time and near real-time datais giving service providers the business visibility they need to determine what traffic is profitable and what is not. New insights into traffic volumes, margins, credit risks, currency fluctuations and potential fraud instances can help them to manage and maintain profitable customers, routes and service offerings. Automation and granular controls based on this visibility will help service providers operate with maximum profitability.

Integrating back office tools and systemscan decrease time-to-market, decrease overheads and overall improve efficiency and service delivery for customers. Over time, many service providers in the voice market have developed numerous systems for routing, reporting and analytics. They are often developed as standalone functions then patched together, creating complex back office systems that do not benefit the business. 

Preparing for the future is criticalas new services like HD voice and voice over LTE are rapidly becoming a reality for consumers. In order for service providers to bring innovation to the new era of voice, they need to be prepared to deliver IP communications over next-gen networks with future-ready routing tools. Service providers that are ready for an IP-centric world will limit their need for capex intensive upgrades and enable them to seamlessly evolve as voice services change and develop.

These three steps are really about upgrading legacy systems and changing legacy ways of thinking about the voice market. New models like Network-as-a-Service and other hosted solutions will accelerate this and ease the transition to efficient, data-driven and future-proof voice businesses. Today’s voice market is different than in the past and so are the tools and business models needed to be successful. 

 

 

About the Author

Senior VP, Product & Business Strategy at Tata Communications

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