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Telecom Carriers Face Major New Threat in OTT Service Providers

By Steve Anderson
March 28, 2016

Consider, for a moment, how you stream television shows. Do you turn first to a service like Xfinity, or do you favor one of the other providers like Hulu or Netflix? If you didn't answer Xfinity, then you've illustrated one of the biggest problems telecom providers are facing today: a growing competitive proposition from over-the-top (OTT) service providers.

Naturally, it's not just streaming video that's coming into play here, but a host of others from mobile payments to conferencing to even the oldest standard in the mobile telecom industry: voice service. With Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) bringing voice and even conferencing services to most Web browsers, and some dedicated apps like Skype doing likewise, it's easy to see where telecom providers are growing increasingly concerned about their positions in the market.

However, there's one expected bright spot in the market, as based on a new research report from MRRSE that looks at the global telecom market as relates to applications programming interfaces (APIs): the growing potential market for machine-to-machine (M2M) operations. The report in general attacks the API market on several fronts, ranging from payment and map technology to identity management and beyond, making sure most every breed of API is covered.

With all these differences to consider, it's a great time to get better acquainted with just what an API actually is and what kind of impact it can have. Thus, the smart API market follower should be looking into attending All About the API, running July 18 – 21 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. While at the event, users will have the opportunity to network with API developers, and also potentially join in the future of API development with a set of hackathons set to run during the event.

The API market and the OTT market have huge potential to shake up the industry. Not only is it pulling a lot of the telecom industry's traditional bulwarks away—did anyone ever think there would be a day when people didn't routinely turn to a mobile provider for mobile voice service?—but it's also opening up completely new markets for the telecom market to stake a claim to if the participants can move sufficiently rapidly. With a growing number of companies already bringing together telecom API, however—ranging from major names like AT&T and Twilio to lesser-known names like Nexmo and Comverse—it may be approaching too late to get a first-mover advantage in the field. Not having that early advantage can be a huge problem for telecoms trying to get ahead, but any effort is better than none at all at this point.

For telecoms, the API market is either a huge opportunity, or a chance to completely break some firms. It will likely be the response to the market that determines which, and that response will have to be framed sooner rather than later to avoid completely missing the boat.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Writer

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