While the relationship between operators and OTT players is no longer hostile, operators are not executing strategies that would see them profit from new sources of revenue.

That is the headline finding of a new survey by back office vendor Openet and research house STL Partners, which sought the views of 25 OTT providers and 15 operators.

The survey found that there was a strong alignment between the two parties on new services including profiling, ID/authentication, payments, and network QoS.

Equally, most operators have strategies to partner with OTT providers.

However, operators are either unable or unwilling to make the necessary organisational changes that would enable them to execute these strategies.

According to the survey’s authors, unless operators learn to collaborate with OTT providers, they run the risk of becoming dumb pipes.

“Risk of fragmentation is very real for operators if they don’t take the necessary steps to unlock the value of third-party partnerships,” said Michael Manzo, CMO of Openet.

According to the survey, OTT providers may require operators to collaborate with one another to create federated or clearinghouse services, which presents further execution challenges.

“Telecom operators are caught in a ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ which is preventing them from collaborating among themselves and with OTT application and content providers,” commented Chris Barraclough, MD and Chief Strategist at STL Partners.

“The desire for individual players to pursue service differentiation is actually inhibiting value creation at the industry level. The time has come for operators to work together to build value for third-parties in an effort to better serve consumers,” he added.

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