Mobile operators need right strategy to cope with smartphone strain

Research just published claims to show that users of Google Android smartphones – including handsets from HTC and Samsung – are threatening to clog up the cellular phone networks.


According to Dan Joe Barry from Napatech, the network acceleration specialist, the report from Arieso is another example of how the adoption of smartphones – as well as the even larger amounts of data generated by laptops – is placing a strain on mobile infrastructures.


The problem for mobile carriers, he explained, is a complex one, as they seek to balance revenues against the large capex – and ongoing opex – that their expanding 3G and 3.5G cellular networks engender.


“The report notes that smartphones are set to overtake computers as the most used device for surfing the Web, and I think this is something that few in the cellular industry could ever have predicted when the first 3G networks were rolled out back at the turn of the century,” he said.


“It really took until just three or four years ago when the first mobile broadband dongles started appearing before the mobile carriers realised they had a potential moneyspinner on their hands,” he added.


And, he went on to say, as the report indicates, the adoption of mobile data has since far exceeded expectations and as there are natural limitations to the bandwidth cellular networks can provide, this is causing a headache for mobile carriers.


But, the Napatech vice president says, the strain situation need not be a threat for carriers, but a golden opportunity, as mobility has always been highly valued by mobile customers and the ability to access data while on the go is no exception


There is, Barry explained, a clear opportunity for mobile carriers to establish pricing models that are fair to both the consumer and the carrier.


By building smarter networks and billing solutions, he says that mobile carriers have the opportunity to charge customers on a usage basis, but also provide superior customer service by allowing the ability to purchase bandwidth on-demand


“In this way, mobile carriers avoid the death-spiral of increasing bandwidth and traffic costs, but flat revenues  – as landline Internet access providers are experiencing today,” he said.


“Most mobile carriers are actually rationing demand through data capping today, but this does not provide a satisfying user experience – quite the contrary!, With better network intelligence based on real-time data carriers can respond proactively to user needs and ensure better usage experiences, while at the same time providing a platform for more intelligent management of network resources.”


For more on the mobile carrier’s current quandary:


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