M2M is not taking off as fast as operators would like.
But the threat for them is not about failing to reach billions of devices talking to each other, as M2M promises. That will surely happen. The threat for telcos is that they might not be the ones to control and manage them.
Cheap WiFi modules combined with the nature of IP make Over-the-Top solutions as effective as any other, if not more. For customers, OTT has the advantage not to lock them to a single connectivity service provider.
Telcos know it. More and more, they will have to do as DoCoMo just did, and aim to play over-the-top. It is the right move. Telefonica has done it in other domains with Telefonica Digital by creating a new umbrella brand called Tu, for over-the-top communications services.
The point is not that telcos cannot rule in M2M. The point is that it is unlikely you do, if you just focus on locking M2M Service with Connectivity, as telcos did in the days of voice and VAS.