Zamtel laments coming of WhatsApp, Skype

ZAMTEL chief executive officer Sydney Mupeta says the coming of players that offer WhatsApp and Skype has brought a lot of challenges to the telecommunication operators.

Speaking at a cocktail for the second Regional African International Telecommunications Society Conference at Intercontinental hotel on Wednesday night, Mupeta said the global network had introduced opportunities and challenges for telecom operators.

“The global network has introduced opportunities a nd challenges for telecom operators. One of the major challenges has been the coming of Over-The-Top (OTT) players that offer diverse applications and content, such as WhatsApp and Skype, directly to consumers, the act of which is leading to a decline in revenues from traditional telecom services such as voice and messaging,”

Mupeta said.

“The OTT Disruption is pretty similar to the Mobility Disruption of the early 1990s that we experienced as Zamtel. OTTs do not come with legacy issues, no in-country taxes and regulatory fees, and no investment in networks. Granted, OTTs are eating into telecom revenues and becoming stronger, however it is our considered view as Zamtel that even though OTT services, are substitutes to traditional services, they still need telecom operator-networks to access the customer. That said, monetizing OTTs will require service awareness which most Telco’s can do to some extent and in general the need to undergo ‘Digital Transformation’. This transformation has already started and the case-in-point is vertical integration into the financial sector through Mobile Money Service.”

He also said Mobile Money was one of the first successful vertical integrations and it was expected to champion a cashless society through end-to-end electronic payment methods.

Mupeta said Zamtel wanted to champion cashless transactions.

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