Voice is more like revenue protector rather than earner
The announcements today [June 20th 2014] from the UK’s largest MNO [Mobile Network Operator], EE, that it intends to l aunch two new voices service which take advantage of IP based networks are significant. Not least because they triggered a reaction from rival UK MNO Three (3UK). There are at least three good reasons why EE has made these moves. Firstly, it can help to control operating costs; secondly, defend against OTT voice services such as Skype; and, thirdly, it helps to improve the voice experience. For example, EE is aiming to get their dropped call rate (DCR) below 0.5 per cent on its network. Plus, there’s a chance that EE customers could make calls relatively easily whilst on the Tube – London’s Underground rail service. The new services are both VoLTE and and VoWiFi.
Martin Scott, practice head for Analysys Mason’s consumer services research practice, asked EE explicitly about what this would mean for phone calls over Wi-fi on the London Underground.
EE confirmed that it was keen to make it work (the company has a partnership with cable operator, Virgin Media, that enables its customers access to the Wi-fi service).
Analysys Mason has forecast that operator IP voice services will account for 25.6 billion minutes of voice calls in the UK in 2018 (20.2 per cent of all voice calls carried by mobile operators in the UK).
Freddie Kavanagh, vp for applications solutions with Tektronix Communications, observed,”There is an opportunity for European operators [like EE] to generate the same levels of ARPU that we are seeing in the US market once consumers begin to appreciate the value of 4G and the range of services it can offer.”
He continued, “Video calling features on applications like Skype and Facetime have really taken off and it won’t be long until we see other operators rolling out commercial VoLTE services [to rival OTT players] as well.”
Martin Windle, with OpenCloud commented, “If operators can launch some interesting new voice services, exclusive to an all-IP environment with real innovation and differentiators, it will enable them to gain an advantage over their peers and successfully compete with OTT brands in the battle for voice market-share.”
According to Devicescape’s CMO, David Nowicki, although allowing voice and text over Wi-fi is important, it’s just a small step to enhancing the subscriber experience overall.
He argued, “What’s really needed is automated connection to all available WiFi – home, work and public access or amenity hotspots provided by businesses and public bodies all over the world.
EE has also announced that it is using analytics to improve voice of its network, having integrated a network quality checker into its My EE customer care app.