Operators lost £8.84bn of potential revenue last year because of consumers using social messaging apps on their mobiles.
New research from Ovum revealed the decline represented 9% of total messaging recenue among operators last year. The research said apps like Facebook chat will continue to threaten operators unless they rework their services. Neha Dharia, consumer analyst at Ovum and author of the report said: 'Social messaging has disrupted traditional services and operators' revenues in this area will come under increasing pressure. Tapping into the creativity of app developers, forming industry-wide collaborations and leveraging their user data and strong relationships with subscribers are the key ways for operators to ensure that they hold their ground in the messaging market.'
Dharia said the threat could lead operators to consider alternative sources of revenue, such as mobile broadband. She added the established billing relationship means operators can control which services the user is exposed to. In order to combat the threat from internet players, operators need to work together to provide innovative messaging schemes, Dharia said. 'Operators must remain open to partnering with app developers, sharing end-user data with them and allowing integration with the user's social connections,' she added.
'Working closely with handset vendors will also be important; they control some of the most popular social messaging apps, and can also provide preloaded applications. The most important factor, however, will be co-operation between telcos. They are no longer competing merely among themselves, but must work together to face the challenge from the major internet players.'