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Speed and Loyalty is the Key for African Operators Looking to Grab Carrier OTT Market

Africa - shortly to become a one billion person market - is becoming a major focus for OTT players looking to exploit the growing mobile ecosystem. According to IDT Global's Jonah Fink, the continent's service providers have the capability to rise to the challenge OTT players provide. Speaking at today's VAS Africa conference in Johannesburg, Fink told a packed audience that speed and customer loyalty were key factors in the battle to win the African OTT war.

"The goal for service providers is that they basically need to become OTT operators faster than the OTT providers can become carriers," he said, "but they can do it and the fact is that consumers don't like OTT operators very much - they would stay loyal to the African Telco brands if they could get the same services."

"Ovum is already estimating that globally carrier OTT could be worth $20bn by 2018 [1]. That $20bn will not just fall into laps of African operators - they'll have to make sure they fight for it. They also predict that OTT operators could cost carriers $63bn per year[2]  if they don't react fast enough and in the correct way."

The growth of mobile penetration across Africa and the ever increasing speed of cellular roll outs have enabled huge market potential for OTT operators such as Skype, WhatsApp and Viber, posing a huge threat to African Operators revenues.

However, this threat may not be as bad as once feared. In a recent survey by YouGov[3] 42% of consumers associate the phrase 'Services I trust' with a mobile operator, rather than an OTT player. The survey found that respondents felt mobile operators would be more proficient in the provision of OTT-style services than current OTT providers.

Fink added: "To take on the OTT operators you have to either have very deep pockets, very slick processes and cooperative distribution channels, or be willing to partner with someone who's already been through the trials and tribulations of launching an app. Customers are not as loyal to OTT operators as they are to African Telco brands, paving the way for operators to launch their own OTT value added services that can take full advantage of this loyalty."

For more information on IDT solutions for mobile operators, please contact Stephen Mills, Carrier Services Marketing Director, IDT, +44 (0) 207 028 4847.

To find out more about IDT Global, please visit:

About IDT Corporation

IDT Corporation (NYSE:IDT), through its IDT Telecom division, provides retail telecommunications and payment services to help immigrants and the under-banked to conveniently and inexpensively communicate and share resources around the world. IDT Telecom's wholesale business is a leading global carrier of international long distance voice calls. IDT also holds majority interests in two early-stage technology companies focused on high growth industries: Zedge (, a mobile content discovery and acquisition platform, includes one of the most popular Apps for Android and iOS; Fabrix Systems (, a cloud based scale out storage and computing platform, provides a scalable solution optimized for media and big data processing and delivery. For more information, visit







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