Beware of Your OTT Frenemies

“Alianza is another OTT unified communications (UC) vendor, right?” That is one of the most frequent questions I get from people in the telecom industry, and the answer is critical for telcos. Why? Because their future depends on it.

Are we just an OTT UCaaS provider? No, that’s certainly an important element of what we do, but our value proposition is much larger. And that is exactly why telcos should be working with us.

The candid truth is that OTT UCaaS providers like Ring Central or Ooma are dangerous “frenemies” that telcos should be wary of. Yes, plug-and-play providers of video conferencing and other UC services have filled a critical gap for telcos – particularly since work-from-home accelerated during the pandemic. Unfortunately, legacy telco voice infrastructure isn’t capable of providing competitive UC solutions today, so the OTT’s threw telecom a lifeline by offering plug-and-play solutions for videoconferencing and UC needs as Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings became a fixture of our work lives.  

But ask yourself this critical question: Telcos needed OTT solutions to deliver pandemic-era services, but will OTTs really need telcos tomorrow? I strongly believe the answer is no. Increasingly, OTTs have the means, motive, and opportunity to disintermediate telcos by working directly with those customers. Their platforms are robust enough and their services in such high demand that they are well positioned to capture more revenue by poaching these customers, since they already have a direct relationship with end-user customers. This isn’t merely a possibility, but an eventuality. OTTs now view telcos as a route to market to be exploited, versus long-term strategic partners.

So are OTT’s really the kind of partner telecom service providers should be counting on in their long-term strategy? As my mother would no doubt ask, “If they were a real friend, would they treat you that way?” 

That brings me back to the question about Alianza. We are not just an OTT UCaaS vendor. Rather, we are in the business of transforming the full set of traditional telecom services from outdated legacy systems to a modern cloud-based platform that delivers traditional lines (residential and business) and specialty lines (alarm and fire panels, point of sale terminals, elevator lines, etc.), SIP trunking, Cloud PBX, UCaaS (app-based voice, video and chat), contact center, and SMS solutions – all in a single, cloud-native platform. This is the approach that telcos should be taking to achieve higher revenue and higher margins.

For telcos that have struggled with the process of modernizing their core communications platforms, we provide a simple, successful way to get there. In the process, the companies we work with are able to strengthen their relationship with residential, business, or enterprise customers, under their own brand. The result is an integrated service model that Omdia Research noted as a viable path for telcos to maintain greater control of their customer experience, service delivery, and pricing models to drive operating efficiencies, grow revenue margins, and enhance brand equity.

In today’s vendor ecosystem with rising demand for new service capabilities, telcos need to ask themselves two questions: Do you want to bolt on some new UCaaS solution, reducing your brand equity and giving margin to a vendor who would love to take YOUR customers? Or do you want to partner with someone who will modernize and upgrade delivery of ALL your core communications services? The answer is clear, and this is fundamentally what Alianza is all about.

Reason for Blog Post

The question of whether Alianza is an OTT is one of the questions Alianza executives field most often and are regularly needing to describe that we are so much more. 

The purpose of this post is to dispel the myth that Alianza is an OTT or UCaaS platform and differentiate us from both known and lesser-known brands, such as Zoom, Ring Central, as well as 2600Hz by Ooma and Netsapiens’ Crexendo.

Additionally, the blog will lean into the difference between passive and integrated sell-thru models, highlighting how an integrated partner introduces fewer risks than more “plug and play” technology.