IT News — A mandated industry-wide reduction in mobile call and SMS termination rates forced revenues of Optus and parent SingTel down as much as 9 percent in the last quarter, with the bottom-line impact expected to grow fourfold next year.
Times of India — What started as two friends accommodating guests on air mattresses and providing homemade breakfast has turned into a profitable business, valued at around $25 billion, spread across 191 countries. Airbnb (Airbedandbreakfast) is eyeing India as one of its fastest growing markets. It is also talking to companies here to launch its business travel model.
Digital News Asia — A NATIONAL plan by the Government and telecommunications operators in Indonesia to stave off a ‘foreign invasion’ by actively encouraging local over-the-top (OTT) apps has got off to a slow start, with the three apps having been approved only after three months. Last December, the Association of Telecommunication Operators (ATSI) invited local startups to register their OTT services, after which three such services would be identified and earmarked for support by the association.
The States Man — Uber offered its first motorbike taxi service on Wednesday, launching a pilot scheme in Bangkok which could spread across Asia as it takes on chief regional rival Grab Taxi. Motorbikes have long been a popular commuting option in the Thai capital, which faced horrendous traffic jams due to increased car ownership and poor city planning. Ubiquitous motorbike taxi drivers, found at stands across the city wearing bright orange jackets, weave in and out of stalled traffic with both skill and knuckle-whitening speed.
Times of India — HYDERABAD: Taxi aggregator Uber ha opened its Center of Excellence (CoE) here which will house over 500 customer care executives. The first-of-its-kind facility in Asia is part of an agreement the company signed with the Telangana government in July 2015 to invest $50 million in the state, Uber said in a statement. The CoE, which was inaugurated by state IT minister KT Rama Rao, is expected to generate 500 jobs by the end of 2017.
Telecom Asia — Japanese telecoms operator Softbank is streamlining its data center operations by deploying Brocade VDX switches in its group-wide common service infrastructure network. Softbank said the new infrastructure will greatly reduce complexity and the cost of network operations within its data centers, giving the company greater agility to pursue new growth opportunities in OTT services.
Telecom Asia — Teleste, a provider of broadband video and data communication systems and services, has partnered with Samsung Electronics to launch a new solution for more efficient IP service delivery across hospitality environments.
Inter Aksyon — KUALA LUMPUR — In its continuing effort to go all-out digital, Samsung Electronics unveiled the company’s latest mobile gadgets and digital appliance product line-up at the annual Samsung Southeast Asia Forum held in the Malaysian capital’s KL Convention Center.
MIS Asia — Living in an on-demand world, a simple swipe of one’s mobile phone or a few clicks of the mouse can now bring consumers a plethora of content and applications. Direct to Home (DTH), IPTV and Over-the-Top (OTT) services are projected to grow in the next five years on the back of government support in infrastructure development including fibre roll-outs fueled by increased consumer demand across the Asia Pacific.
Tech in Asia — It may be a new year, but here’s a familiar story: Chinese internet security giant Qihoo 360 is having a spat with a competitor. This time, it’s Xiaomi that finds itself in the crosshairs after removing all of Qihoo’s apps from its app store.
PRNewswire — NEW ORLEANS: At SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2015, Huawei announced a suite of solutions designed to help global Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) strengthen their competitiveness in the digital era. To address the rapid proliferation of connected devices and competition from fast-moving over-the-top players (OTTs) and traditional telcos, Huawei advocates a two-pronged strategy for MSOs: provide high-quality multi-screen services to accelerate video business opportunities; and enhance broadband services to ensure a superior user experience.
IT News — Optus is set to take the lead as the first Australian carrier to deliver a commercial voice over wi-fi service to its consumers. The carrier has committed to launch a voice over wi-fi service within weeks. “Optus is always looking at ways to enhance our customer experience and we’re currently working on exciting developments for wi-fi calling which we expect to announce mid-2015,” an Optus spokesman said.
MICROSOFT Malaysia has launched the new Skype for Business, saying the communications and collaboration tool will help businesses reinvent the way people communicate in the modern workplace. Skype for Business features include instant messaging, voice, video calls, online meetings and even presence – knowing when your contact is available to chat or not, the company said in a statement.
After three months of being developed and tested (from last December) with approximately 30,000 subscribers, Viettel has officially launched Mocha Messenger app with many features introduced to be exclusive. In addition to sending text messages, voice messages and pictures, this application also supplies music, which Viettel confirmed to be the only feature on OTT apps in Vietnam and the world. However, Mocha Messenger does not have calling features like its rivals as Zalo, Viber, WhatsApp, Skype …
Brightcove Inc. (NASDAQ: BCOV), a leading global provider of cloud services for video, today announced that PrimeTime Entertainment, Thailand’s newest on-demand streaming service, has partnered with Brightcove to power transcoding for its over-the-top (OTT) entertainment channel. With Brightcove’s Zencoder cloud-based encoding service, PrimeTime is able to rapidly deliver high-quality video on-demand (VOD) content to satisfy audiences across platforms and devices.
VietTalk is the third OTT (over-the-top) service provided by a Vietnamese enterprise after Zalo of VNG and Btalk of Bkav. It works like other OTT services in terms of calling, texting, voice and multimedia messages and group chat. Like other OTT apps, VietTalk can be installed in all smartphones connecting to mobile phone networks in the country. VietTalk users will have to pay for the service while users of other OTT apps do not pay for the app service but are still subject to 3G or GPRS charges.
BENGALURU: Bharti Airtel was at the receiving end of a brutal backlash on the Internet after it decided to impose special tariff for voice calls made over services like Skype or Viber. The telecom operator’s decision to charge more for voice services that run using data is being vehemently opposed by consumers, many of whom took to the Internet to vent their anger.
The Indian Government will look into Airtel’s plan to charge separately for VoIP (voice calls over Internet) services offered by apps like Skype, Viber, and Line. According to a statement on the website of the Indian telecom giant, “All internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail discounted rate) shall only be valid for internet browsing and will exclude VoIP (both incoming/ outgoing). VoIP over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p/10 KB (3G service) and 10p/10 KB (2G service)”.
Quy Nguyen is a Vietnamese, but he usually travels between Hanoi and Guangzhou, China, for business. When he is in Vietnam, he can contact his Chinese partners in Guangzhou with WeChat. “WeChat is the only OTT app Guangzhou people can use,” he explained. Nguyen said due to Chinese characters, it always takes a lot of time to write text messages. Therefore, to communicate with Chinese partners, he would rather make calls or send voice messages.
Zalo, a 100 percent Vietnamese OTT app, has 20 million users, a surprising figure to many people. In the eyes of Vietnamese, locally made products are often seen as having an inferior quality to foreign products. However, the “principle” is not true in the case of Zalo. The OTT market had a great war in 2012-2013, with some players dislodged from the market. These included Wala, a young player which could not survive the stiff competition.
Impacted by sharp falls in revenues, local mobile carriers are reportedly trying to block OTT services, which allow users to make free phone calls and send free text messages. In reality, users have found the quality of OTT services is declining. The ministry is collecting suggestions for a draft circular managing Internet-based call and texting services. The draft stipulates that telecom firms are disallowed to bar OTT services in Vietnam.
Mobile network operators and OTT app developers have finally found a way to co-exist. According to Harald Preiss, a senior executive of Nokia Networks, in the countries which have been utilizing 4G technology like Japan, mobile network operators now provide free voice call and SMS service as a part of the monthly data package service, and they only charge fees for data services. As such, when customers use OTT services, mobile network operators can earn money, while users will be more satisfied because they can use high-quality services.
BKAV, known in Vietnam as the leading Internet security firm, has officially joined the OTT market with its launch of Btalk, an app that allows users to make calls and send messages free of charge. The quality of Btalk is still uncertain. However, Nguyen Tu Hoang, Vice President of BKAV, said Btalk’s mission is to replace Viber, a very popular app among Vietnamese at present. Hoang hopes to make Btalk succeed in Vietnam, and then reach out to the world. Viber reportedly has 10 million users in Vietnam.