Network Outages Makes Service Provider’s CEO Go Over The Top

February 6, 2013

Guest post by Amir Zmora

[This is a first guest post I am hosting here, but I am open to the idea. Amir Zmora is a dear friend and colleague of mine. Amir Zmora is VP Products & Marketing for RADVISION’s Technology Business Unit, who has been in the VoIP scene over a decade.]

Earlier this week one of Israel’s leading mobile service providers, Pelephone, had an outage for about 4 hours. Service outage is not new, it happened not so long ago to O2, a tier 1 service provider, in the UK. It happened to other service providers in the past as well but this is not the reason why I’m writing about this. The thing that got me sitting down to write about this was the comment made by Pelephone’s CEO Gil Sharon.

On an interview on the Israeli radio the reporter commented to Gil Sharon that probably many people tried to reach him during the outage and failed to do so. Sharon’s comment was that the outage was only on voice and SMS services, data services were up and running so people contacted him on WhatsApp and Viber.

Crisis

As I’m making my last preparations for Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 working on the demos we will have there showcasing VoLTE and RCS mobile clients and testing solutions (feel free to drop me a note on LinkedIn if you want to meet there) I ran across this blog post by Ewan from Mobile Industry Review reviewing MWC 2012. This review isn’t about cool new services of the mobile operators nor is it about those large infrastructure vendors, it was about the gear executives at those companies use and guess what, they all take a bite in the Apple or should I say, in their own revenue stream.

Similar to Pelephone’s CEO (who I have no clue what device he uses but I would take a wild guess that he is no different), they all use OTT services, be it the service of the device manufacturer or a pure OTT service like WhatsApp and Viber.

The question is, what makes these executives chose the device that is most likely to take more revenue away from their company, the mobile service provider? The device that gives you iMessage and FaceTime. The device that forces you to use a one single AppStore taking away this important monetization tool from the service provider and owning the user ID allowing to further route his mobile usage through Apple. Ewan from Mobile Industry Review has an answer to that:

It’s because it’s easy. It’s nice. And because, let’s face it, many of the decision makers and influencers in the mobile industry aren’t actually that geeky or technical. They’re business people who just like stuff to work — and they’ve typically got a bit of money. Plus they feel like they should be living the mobile dream — at least, without getting their hands dirty with a self-compiled Android ROM.  So they’re using an iPhone.

I tend to agree, I had a challenging experience over the weekend trying to open for my mother an additional Google account right from her Android device and install Voxer on it. Don’t try it at home, experience was bad.

All this brings me to thoughts about what can the service providers do about this phenomena of users shifting to OTT and the future of VoLTE and RCS in this regards. I guess that is food for another blog post…stay tuned.

*Opinions presented in this blog post may or may not represent the opinions of the company I work for.


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