Joyn struggles as operators partner for OTT


Nearly one third mobile operators believe the GSMA's Joyn is not helping tackle OTT providers

Nearly one third of mobile operators believe the GSMA offering, Joyn, is not successfully competing with messaging service providers such as WhatsApp and Skype.

GSMA-backed standard Joyn is struggling to drive significant operator support, limited by its complexity and slow speed to market, according to new research by mobilesquared and mobile interaction service provider tyntec.

The international survey among more than 40 mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) reveals that only 7% of these mobile operators now believe Joyn is the solution to combat the threat of OTT voice and messaging services such as Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp.

A further 29% of operators believe that Joyn had the potential to be the solution, but it has taken too long to launch, at seven years from concept to commercial launch compared to six months for WhatsApp.

Of the operators surveyed, 29% believe Joyn is not the solution to competitiveness in this area. In addition, 36% are uncertain of the impact the GSMA-based standard will have on their ability to tackle OTT players.

Qualitative research supports these figures with operators citing that, for Joyn to truly challenge the global OTT powerhouses, it would need to have a similar global offering, which would only be achieved if every mobile operator signs up to the scheme. The belief across the industry, and not just among mobile operators, is that this will not happen, showed the survey.

Although Joyn is struggling, interest in providing OTT-type services is on the increase, with 36% of mobile operators partnering with OTT providers, up from 32% in 2012. This is despite the fact that mobile network operators and MVNOs still consider OTT services to pose a real threat to their revenues.

Altogether, 36% of operators believe WhatsApp presents the greatest threat, followed by Google and Facebook, which both received 21% each of mobile operators' responses, and was followed by Apple with 14%. Interestingly, Skype only attracted 7% of mobile operator responses.

José Garcia, vice president of sales and carrier relations for tyntec, commented: 'Operators have to act now if they want to off-set their declining voice and SMS revenues. Because Joyn is looking less favourable, many mobile operators are now looking into alternative OTT strategies and have moved away from blocking or imposing surcharges or lowering the quality of the service.

'Instead of creating their own OTT solution, they are now looking into new opportunities by expanding their A2P SMS offering or partnering with OTT providers. Both options allow them to participate in the success of OTT services and open up new revenue streams,' Garcia stated.

Joyn is the commercial name for Rich Communication Services enhanced (RCS-e). RCS-e is an upgrade that marks the transition of messaging and voice capabilities from circuit switched technology to an all-internet provider world. For consumers, it has the potential to combine voice and SMS with instant messaging or chat, live video sharing and file transfer across all devices and networks.


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