Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing mobile content and services markets in the world. The growth of smartphones, 3G and 4G has resulted in the increase of subscribers’ demand for content, services and mobile data. For mobile operators, this provides more opportunities to partner with over-the-top (OTT) content and service providers and in some cases the chance to create their own content to drive adoption of data services.
In emerging markets, mobile operators earn less money from mobile data and still depend heavily on voice call and SMS for revenue. Mobile operator initiatives are therefore mostly aimed at driving data revenues and customer acquisition, rather than making money directly from content and services. Operators must be innovative if they are to create their own content or they will struggle when facing competition from OTT content and services. In most cases, operators prefer to partner rather than compete with leading OTT players. However, unlike in most Western and mature Asia-Pacific markets, emerging markets offer greater opportunity for mobile operators to provide content and services to their subscribers. As the mobile ecosystem is less established in these markets, mobile operators will play a more significant role in offering content and services. Nonetheless, they must be able to react quickly as the market is growing quickly and they need to be willing to leverage the expertise of partnerships to succeed.
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