But despite the predicted fall in revenues, Juniper also identified a series of new opportunities – including in 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) - which it said would collectively enable operators to sustain, or even increase, service revenues.
And according to Juniper, 5G is critical for operators to slow declining voice revenues and it expects that 5G connections will exceed 370 million by 2023 - generating US$88 billion in operator-billed revenues – or over 50% of the anticipated voice revenue loss.
Juniper also argued that operators could generate additional revenue through support for new voice services, powered by technologies such as Google’s Duplex.
• CPaaS (Communications Platforms-as-a-Service) Disruption
In order to capitalise on revenue streams for emerging voice services, Juniper says that operators must adopt new ecosystems of converged technologies, including voice, messaging and digital assistants such as Alexa.
It predicted that operators will facilitate these changes by supporting the CPaaS model, with central management of communication offered via a single platform.
• The VoLTE Opportunity
The research forecasts significant growth for OTT apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger, with the apps forecast to generate 15.7 trillion minutes of voice usage by 2023; equivalent to streaming 3.8 trillion music tracks.
Juniper urged operators to rollout voice technologies that offer superior benefits and are easily integrated into this CPaaS approach, such as VoLTE (Voice over LTE).
Research author Sam Barker said, “The OTT ecosystem is fragmented and, as a result, is unable to offer the same level of reach as operators”.
“In order to maximise OTTs shortfall in this area, operators must adopt the CPaaS approach to win back traffic, thus minimising future shortfall in revenues”.
Juniper forecasts that VoLTE users will exceed the OTT voice app users for the first time in 2020, a year earlier than previously anticipated.