Over-the-top (OTT) products are increasingly becoming part of the landscape in communications, and it has some companies very deeply concerned. These new technologies have the potential to shift massive amounts of revenue away from similar in-house projects—just look at the cable companies' ongoing concern over OTT video offerings like Hulu and Netflix—and leave communications firms in the dust. But even OTT has some concerns in all this, and Revector may have just the tool when it comes to protecting call termination.
The new Revector tool in question represents a new extension to the bypass suite of software tools Revector already has operational. Geared toward both fixed line and mobile network operators, the new Revector system focuses on protecting call termination revenues from tools like WhatsApp and Viber. Reports suggest that nearly half of all international calls are being terminated as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) rather than as a direct call from one telephone to another, a practice known as OTT Bypass that can end in serious damage to not only call quality but also to network operator revenues.
With Revector's new tool, both fixed and mobile network operators can spot OTT Bypass in progress and also shut it down, which means that the operators can preserve both the revenue gained from connecting the call and the quality that the call would offer. Since OTT fraud can represent up to 45 percent of traffic on some routes, there's a clear impetus here to step in and remove the fraud.
Revector's CEO, Andy Gent, offered up some comment around the new tool's release and the impact it's likely to have on the field, saying “Several OTT companies are proactively touting low cost calls on the open market to try to generate revenues from legitimately licensed telecommunications service providers. Essentially they are defrauding both the user, who expects their call to be carried as a legitimate call not over a VoIP app, and the legitimate telecommunications service provider who has paid a license fee to terminate calls in country. This is sharp practice and impacts telecommunications companies’ abilities to maintain a profitable network.”
Here, Gent has a clear point: when callers are expecting a point-to-point telephone call, and are paying for a point-to-point telephone call, callers should get exactly that, and protecting against such measures would be a welcome addition both for callers and for network operators.
But it's worth wondering if perhaps Revector is solving the wrong problem here; as VoIP service gets progressively better, are networks looking to defend the status quo and thus more likely to face future losses later? Should mobile and fixed networks instead be looking to incorporate VoIP into operations, improving available bandwidth accordingly, as something that the customers want? VoIP technology—and its immediate cohorts like Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) among others—is only getting better, so networks that try too hard to clamp down on such things may encourage callers to eschew the network outright in favor of a Web-based OTT equivalent.
Still, protecting quality is a good move, and one that should be well-received among clients. It's a great move for today...but it may not be a great move for tomorrow, and that's a point that should be considered as well, even as Revector's new product line works to protect today's revenue.