Blog post

The ticking “voice bomb” for global cloud providers

05/3/24
Chris Adams


According to Allied Market Research, the global cloud services market was valued at $551.8bn in 2021, with estimates that it will quintuple in size to $2.5 trillion by 2031.

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According to Allied Market Research, the global cloud services market was valued at $551.8bn in 2021, with estimates that it will quintuple in size to $2.5 trillion by 2031.

By any measure, this is growth at exponential levels. And interestingly, much of it is coming from developing markets in Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America. This brings a huge global opportunity – and myriad challenges too.

Of course, the platform providers such as AWS, Microsoft (Teams) and Google are well used to providing services at a global scale. But even they are having to work at a phenomenal pace to establish themselves in new countries around the world.

More to the point, there are significant challenges when it comes to provisioning voice and messaging services. These are typically a key element of their platform offering in emerging markets, and fundamental to enabling new opportunities and growth.

We see three challenges in particular.

First, very often the servers that run these voice services are based abroad, not in-country. This isn’t a problem for most digital services – but it is for the voice industry, where regulators globally are clamping down on things like call origin. Having your servers based abroad can mean, for example, that domestic calls get mixed up with international spam calls, with serious implications for tariff accuracy and enabling fraud.

Second, cloud providers struggle to establish a fast, transparent and efficient process for providing coverage while also complying with local regulations. Some important rules vary in each country – KYC requirements spring to mind. This makes it tough to roll out your offering at pace while at the same time providing uniform compliance and service levels.

Third, global voice pricing is highly complex, and it’s only getting worse. This means that cloud providers are often unaware of the tariffs they are exposed to when they switch on services. At best, this creates a level of complexity that sucks up valuable resource; at worst, it can lead to nasty surprises in the form of huge voice charges on their P&L, or in becoming the target of fraudsters.

As these issues combine, cloud providers are facing a ticking time-bomb in voice – one that risks undermining their growth, reputation and quality of service, just at the point when there is an unparalleled generational opportunity.

Our view is that delivering a truly compliant domestic calling service must be the outcome of a well-designed, end-to-end network solution. And that has to be underpinned by a true expert in this area. Only then can cloud providers ensure these challenges don’t threaten their ability to capture growth in the emerging digital markets of the future.

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