Arthur D. Little: Mobile voice OTT could become a disruptive force

The second phase of mobile VoIP innovation, led by highly sophisticated players, has the potential to attack the most fundamental model upon which telcos base their business. Global management consultancy Arthur D. Little’s latest report, Disruptive threat or innovative opportunity? outlines key trends influencing this development and the response options available. "Key technological, business and regulatory trends are influencing the development of the mobile voice OTT industry", says Dr. Björn Thunström, Principal of Arthur D. Little’s Telecoms, Information, Media & Electronics (TIME) Practice. "The operators’ response strategies will dictate whether this proves to be a disruptive threat or an innovative opportunity." Based on over 50 interviews with Telecom and OTT CxOs globally, Arthur D. Little has developed three main market scenarios to quantify the OTT growth potential according to the combined strength of several factors highlighted in the report:

  • Negligible Impact: In this scenario operators can, and will take measures to block or hinder OTT progress. Mobile VoIP (mVoIP) would grow from $1bn in 2011 to $14bn in 2016 accounting for 2% of global mobile voice revenues.
  • Moderate Impact: Mobile broadband, smart device and flat fee penetration continues to grow, OTT providers partner with challenger operators and regulators prevent discrimination of the mVoIP industry by promoting net neutrality. In this situation, mVoIP grows to nearly $60bn by 2016, amounting to 10% of mobile voice revenues.
  • Major Impact: Accelerated penetration of mobile broadband, smart devices and flat fee data bundles combined with sustainable partnerships with operators globally. OTT players successfully monetize their user base. This could lead to the market growing to more than $100bn by 2016 and claiming 20% of total mobile voice revenues.
Voice OTT providers will make the coming years challenging for telcos globally. "Telcos must implement strategies determined by their market position as well as the business and legal context of individual markets," concludes Dr Thunström. To access the full report, please visit:

Notes for Editors

Arthur D. Little - 125 years of innovation

Founded in 1886 as the world’s first consulting firm, Arthur D. Little has continually transformed business thinking and practice by applying its expertise in the areas of strategy, innovation and technology.  Today, Arthur D. Little helps companies to create growth, overcome challenges, improve innovation capabilities, and increase efficiency and competitiveness in a globalised marketplace.

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Sue Glanville
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