TPRC47: Research Conference on Communications, Information and...
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Saturday, September 21 • 9:00am - 9:33am
Does the Bridge Over the Digital Divide Require Tolls? An Economic and Regulatory Analysis of Over-the-Top Services in a Developing Market

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Over-the-top (OTT) services are value-added applications such as streaming media, messaging, or voice calling that utilize service provider networks for delivery without being under the control of the network service provider. In many cases, the OTT services com- pete with services offered by the network operator themselves, such as when consumers use VoIP services like Skype or messaging services like WhatsApp instead of voice calling or short message service (SMS) offered by mobile wireless carriers.
In most countries, network operators are under statutory obligation to carry OTT traffic, and while they may receive revenue by charging for this carriage at the rate of regular data traffic, they forgo the higher revenues earned by charging for calls or messages directly. While this has been a boon for consumers, it is having negative impacts on the revenues, forecasts, and infrastructure investments of network service providers.
The issue of infrastructure investment is particularly sensitive in developing countries, where the need to create new infrastructure is substantial, it is difficult to attract investment, few alternative service providers exist if an incumbent leaves the market, and average revenue per user is already relatively low. Regulators in these markets face dif- ficult choices due to the desire to bring better and lower-cost services


Martin Saint

Carnegie Mellon University

Saturday September 21, 2019 9:00am - 9:33am
American University Washington College of Law 4300 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington DC
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