LIVE FROM 5G ASIA, SINGAPORE: There are widely optimistic projections about the upside of online video for telecoms operators, but little attention given to how a deal is actually going to happen.
Peter Bithos, CEO of over-the-top (OTT) service provider HOOQ (pictured), warned: “It’s way harder than you think,” noting the economic model to make mobile video successful for all parties is very diverse and much debated.
Since it was launched by Singtel in January 2015, the on-demand video service provider agreed deals with 17 partners including Globe Telecom in the Philippines and Telkom Indonesia. Bithos said there are many more in the pipeline.
He explained there is no such thing as integrating with an operator. Instead, OTT companies integrate with operators’ broadband, prepaid and post paid billing systems, all of which is complex because: “The provisioning flows are different, the billing flows are different, the way you integrate are different, the way you create the customer experience is different.”
HOOQ currently runs 42 different integrations across its 17 partnerships: “It’s hard work. To anyone who says they’ll partner and line up an easy integration, it doesn’t work that way.”
Bithos admitted its first integration was “extremely detailed” and followed the same path its partner did in connecting other OTT services.
Based on its experience in making operator-OTT partnerships work, Bithos said a clean sheet approach to integration is needed to offer users a great customer experience.
“Our goal is to make every integration as simple as five steps, which involved a tremendous amount of hard work and learning.”