Proliferation of Smart Phones
First wave of mobile broadband traffic was mainly driven by USB data sticks which were attached to desktops and laptop computers. With the emergence of smartphones the growth of mobile broadband data traffic has been exponential.
Apple iPhone started this phenomenon. Their volumes were initially limited to higher end price points. Nokia has been losing steam for the past two years, at the same time Android based devices have captured lion’s share in various price points. RIM has mainly focused their efforts in the enterprise segment. In this industry it is difficult to predict future winners but what is certain is that mobile broadband traffic will keep growing.
Luckily for the operators, this smartphone driven second phase of growth is not likely only to increase costs of building network capacity but revenues should pick up better than during the first growth phase. Unlike USB data sticks, smartphones will address majority of users not only those few heavy data users.
Smartphones have introduced a new challenge in addition to growth in mobile broadband payload traffic (to a large part consumed by video). Smartphones do have unique traffic profile – they generate large amount of signaling traffic. Mobile data networks need to be dimensioned to handle this.
How do operators address this mobile broadband growth related challenge?
There are multiple mechanisms for managing the ‘demand side’ of the equation (which I am not covering here). On the ‘supply side’, many operators are considering alternatives for their capacity extensions – from traditional method of purchasing additional hardware and software for those locations where congestion is highest to more intelligent method of analyzing where highest payback can be achieved.
Certainly this is not a way which vendors would prefer operators to take once this does not create that steep incremental business for them. But we at Omnitele are trying to assess this problem from operator’s point of view – and intelligent cell based solution for this problem can be found.
How do you measure end user perceived quality of service (in mobile broadband data)?
This topic emerges every time we engage with mobile network operators and regulators around the world – both are interested to understand mobile broadband network performance versus the competition or versus regulatory guidelines.
Finding this out is not that easy once mobile broadband quality is an elastic concept and end-user perceived quality is function of used applications. We at Omnitele have developed a unique methodology which we have used in operators and regulator projects – end user perceived quality of mobile data network can be measured. This methodology has been proven to be a very important tool for improving the quality of mobile broadband service.
To conclude, operators do need to develop a solid strategy for their mobile broadband – this consists of mechanisms to manage the demand side of the equation as well as to optimize supply side of the equation – to be as cost effective as possible. And this can be done even without any major network infrastructure investments.