African Telcos Not Alone In Losing Revenue To WhatsApp

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African telcos losing revenue to OTT services like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and others is no longer news. But they are not alone, says Mister Mo.

Afeican telcos and others losing revenue

It is no longer news that telcos the world over are losing revenue to OTT (over-the-top) services like Facebook and WhatsApp. Somehow though, the subject keeps making the news in African countries. Mobile operators active in Africa keep pointing out that they are losing huge revenue to these social media And instant messaging platforms.

Telcos across Africa – including in countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Zimbabwe have attempted to get regulatory authorities to take action to protect them from the onslught of OTT services. So far, regulators have refused to budge. Watching the news space, you would think only telcos are so affected, and you would be wrong to think so.

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Who Else Is Losing Revenue To OTT Services?

Another group of businesses that continue to suffer huge losses to Facebook and WhatsApp are publishers, both traditional print (newspapers, magazines, books), electronic (radio and TV), as well as digital (newspaper websites, blogs, etc). I am sure that there are other business sectors affected too, but I operate in the publisher field and know the struggle in this field well.

Every business operating in publishing has witnessed an erosion of their user base in some way and a loss of revenue. As a matter of fact, publishers took the hit earlier than the telcos did.

Telcos Still Benefit From OTT

Again, it must be stated that Facebook, Whatsapp and other OTT services still depend on telcos in some way (for data/internet access) and so still help the telcos earn money. The same cannot be said for many categories of publishers. Facebook and co simply take people away from them and give next to nothing back.

Loss of revenue is a big deal for any business. The huge loss that telcos are dealing with certainly is. But do not get me started with how newspapers, magazines, blogs and books are dying out. It is a bigger loss by comparison than what the telcos are moaning about.


Yet, here we publishers are marching on and building new opportunities for our platforms to create value and to generate new income from new opportunities. We aren’t calling for regulations against Facebook and WhatsApp. We are playing the game.

The telcos need to quit complaining. This upheaval does not affect only them. We are all in this together. The world is simply changing. Africa’s telcos need to change and adapt to modern realities the same way the rest of us are.

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