Telecom operators urged to partner with app providers as revenues wane
AMMAN, Feb 24, 2013 (Jordan Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
With the popularity of smartphones on the rise, most users are turning to free Internet services to send messages and make international and local calls, a local telecom operator said recently.
Revenues that telecom companies make from calls and SMSs, which are the traditional sources of earnings, are declining as the number of Jordanians using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications is rising rapidly, Umniah CEO Ihab Hinnawi told reporters last Thursday.
Smartphone users can download VoIP apps and use them to send SMSs and make calls online for free.
According to telecom experts, 6-7 per cent of Internet subscribers in the Kingdom use VoIP apps, which include WhatsApp, BBM, Tango, Viber, Skype and others.
"Telecom operators need to realise that traditional sources of revenues are witnessing challenges... the increase in number of smartphones holders in Jordan will increase challenges these operators face as holders of such devices can download VoIP apps," Hinnawi said.
Speaking at a press conference to announce Umniah's partnership with Skype, which is a division of Microsoft Corporation, he called for more alliances between telecom operators and app providers to reduce the negative impact on operators.
"Prices of smartphones are decreasing and so are Internet prices, which encourages people to buy such devices and use VoIP," Hinnawi added.
Internet penetration reached 63 per cent by the end of September, according to official figures, while an Arab Advisers Group report estimates smartphone penetration in Jordan at about 50 per cent by the end of 2012.
In a video conference Thursday during the press conference, Tony Saigh, head of Global Mobile Partnerships at Skype, said the number of Jordanians using Skype was on the rise.
"Mobile holders no longer use traditional mobile services... this is a global trend and Jordan is part of this trend," Saigh noted.
There are 300 million users of Skype worldwide, he said, adding that about 33 per cent of international calls are made through Skype.
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