Mobile messaging OTT applications continue to become a grave threat to mobile operators with no signs of abatement. Indeed, mobile messaging apps have been a standard feature of mobile devices, supported further by improvement of mobile broadband speeds (i.e. LTE) and continuous expansion of WiFi hotspots – now even becoming part of the standard fixed or mobile bundle. In the early onslaught of these mobile messaging apps, mobile operators have considered several strategies to curb their effect: one option has been the launch of own OTT messaging apps - like the launch of joyn, an RCS-based messaging service created by several telcos such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, etc.
While joyn has been launched by several major players worldwide, its seemingly lacklustre adoption has got the industry thinking whether joyn is enough to fight off the slew of third party OTT messaging apps. Recently, Deutsche Telekom is said to be looking to partner with WhatsApp but only for its overseas markets such as Romania, while it continues to offer joyn as well as Jibe in its domestic market. Deutsche Telekom’s strategy for OTT messaging apps is abviously based on the market they are serving as well as on the customer group. The strategy of partnering with WhatsApp is actually not new (e.g. 3 Hong Kong, SingTel, etc.) although the recent acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook is expected to make waves in the industry: mobile operators may see this merger as a threat – or as an opportunity to possibly adopt a per customer group strategy for their OTT mobile apps.