LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI 2015: One of Malaysia’s biggest mobile operators has compared the threat from Over-The-Top (OTT) services as similar to Attila the Hun’s invasion of Eastern Europe.
Celcom Axiata’s chief digital services officer, Karan Henrik Ponnudurai (pictured), told Mobile World Live that telcos have three choices when dealing with falling SMS revenue due to the growing popularity of OTT services such as WhatsApp and WeChat: “Pray to the regulators for deliverance, fight to the death, or say ‘Tough luck, the Huns are coming and hopefully we can work with them to survive.’”
Ponnudurai, speaking ahead of his appearance at Thursday’s ‘Mobile Financial Services’ conference session, urged mobile operators to “cast aside the archaic way of operating in this industry and constantly be on the lookout to provide better digitised services to consumers. The way forward would be to invest wisely while driving the organisation to become more agile and progressive.”
He advises operators to try moving up the value chain and “embark on a convergence business model” to diversify revenue streams. Operators should also ensure their data offerings are customised for different segments of the market, rather than adopting a ‘one-size fits all’ strategy.
Ponnudurai’s comments come as the operator – Malaysia’s second largest with 12.1 million connections and a 28 per cent market share – aims to become a self-proclaimed ‘internet champion.’
It now has 1,500 4G LTE sites and will invest around 25 per cent of capex on 4G expansion. It has launched a high-profile marketing campaign with sprinter Usain Bolt in an attempt to position itself as the country’s “strongest, fastest, widest network provider.”
According to GSMA Intelligence, it has some way to go before it becomes the country’s largest 4G provider; it currently has approximately 310,000 4G connections compared to Maxis’ 1.9 million and 1.2 million from Yes. However, Axiata is the country’s largest 3G operator and will look to build on its success there as it develops it 4G network and services.