& Social Networking

The Market Challenge

WhatsApp, WeChat and other chat apps are fundamentally changing how consumers and businesses communicate with each other. In addition to enabling ever-richer forms of text, voice and video communications, they are evolving into broader platforms for digital media, e-commerce, chatbots and other forms of personified artificial intelligence. The challenge for the providers and their partners is understanding when and where these plans will gain traction.

Telcos face the challenge of remaining relevant as providers of communications services. They must look to maximize assets, such as network ownership, the customer relationship, and billing, to enhance their existing service offerings and to develop new ones. They must also ensure that they work with relevant partners – including chat apps – to insert themselves into the new value chains and ecosystems emerging around the provision of next-generation communications.

How Ovum Helps You

Evaluate the size and positioning of the OTT communications market, to understand the impact of chat apps on traditional telco services, and the evolution of consumer communications services.

Understand how to transition existing communications services, and develop new value-added services, to remain relevant in a fast-moving marketplace

Assess the role that key social networking and media companies play in the development of new services, technologies and business models.

Evaluate the progress and development of the supplier ecosystem underpinning the communications market.

“Just under half of the world’s population will regularly use a chat app by 2020, when unique global mobile monthly active users will reach 3.18 billion”

Key Deliverables

OTT Communications Tracker – historical KPIs and projections for players including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

Digital Consumer Insights – survey covering China, Japan, the UK and the US.

OTT Messaging Forecast – provides global, regional and country-level market sizing of mobile and fixed OTT communications users and messaging traffic.

OTT VoIP Forecasts – provides global, regional and country-level market sizing of mobile and fixed VoIP users and traffic.

Social Media Tracker – historical KPIs and projections for key players including Facebook, Twitter, QQ and Sina Weibo.

Themes for 2018

Monetizing the next generation of digital communications
The way in which consumers communicate has changed, driving developments in the type of messaging, voice and video services they expect to be able to access from telcos and chat apps. Ovum will assess how telcos and chat apps are evolving their communications offerings, with an emphasis on the identification and quantification of new business models. In addition, Ovum will evaluate strategies for new value-added services, including location.


Harnessing the potential of AI and chat bots
Artificial intelligence and chat bots are the next frontier for consumer communications, with both telcos and chat apps exploring the potential of adding these technologies to their networks and platforms. Ovum will assess the role of AI and chat bots in communications, examining the strategies of operators and chat apps as they move their customers and users towards a more automated, contextual communications experience.


Identifying new opportunities in social media
Social networks are dominant in consumers’ online lives; they are also making significant investments in product development, advertising, media and infrastructure, while facing challenges around regulation, data security and privacy, and consumer protections. In 2018, Ovum will track and analyse developments across key social media players.


Unpacking the communications technology ecosystem
The way in which enterprises communicate with consumers is changing in line with the way in which consumers’ own communications behaviour is evolving. Legacy equipment suppliers and service providers have had to become more agile in order to compete with nimbler start-ups, and to keep pace with emerging technologies such as chat bots. In 2018, Ovum will analyse the application to person (A2P) communications market, evaluate the continuing dominant role of A2P SMS, examine the impact of the growing penetration of chat apps, and assess the strategies of various players in the value chain, including telcos, aggregators and vendors.

What’s New

Chat app revenue forecasts – sizing the global chat app market, by segments such as advertising, commerce and content.

Social media forecasts – sizing the global social media market.

RCS user and traffic forecasts – sizing the global RCS market.

Chat bot platform index – evaluate the chat bot strategies and platform capabilities of the key chat app players.


Chat apps have already disrupted traditional communications services and content distribution models; commerce and business-to-consumer interactions are next.

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