The Future of Mobile Data

Mobile Data Control
The first policy-triggered optimisation solutions will go live in the mobile broadband network.

Operators will begin to talk about Quality of Experience (QoE) in line with mobile broadband – and it is expected that there will be more industry research on the effects, impact and market response on QoE concepts.

More operators will announce measures in an effort to contain the mobile data surge. These will include data caps, service restrictions, throttling, and overage charging.

Operators will invest in additional measurement tools in order to measure the impact in uptake of mobile broadband.

Penetration of 3G will continue, with the market flooded by low-cost smartphones and more tablet devices – resulting in further QoE problems.

Operators and content providers will take the first steps to join forces, investigating ways to create end-to-end content, consumer and resource awareness.

“With the recent ruling by the FCC in the US on net neutrality legislation, mobile operators are free to optimise traffic and adopt pay-per-service charges, for the moment at least,” says Steven van Zanen, SVP marketing, mobile broadband at Acision. “In Europe, the EU stated that there is a consensus for preserving an open internet, yet there is no current requirement for further legislation. While consumers have the right to access information, the growing hunger for rich data is not sustainable at the current bandwidth. 2011 will see operators asserting more control over mobile data with the implementation of policy management and measurement tools as well as increased data caps, service restrictions, throttling and overage charging. They will also work with the wider industry to improve QoE, in order to raise consumer satisfaction and loyalty levels, while at the same time raising Average Revenue per User through differentiated service offerings.”


Mobile Data Services
Increased focus on IP/broadband access across all services, as well as a big push by operators on enterprise services and applications to maximise revenues.

A growing demand for personalisation and new messaging services, supporting operators’ move from a price and volume play into a value play.

An increasing number of operators actively addressing the opportunity for cloud service revenues, selling messaging services into the cloud, by allowing enterprise and internet players to incorporate mobile network capabilities into their communication services.

The proliferation of internet-based messaging services (such as BlackBerry Messenger, Ping, Whatsapp, TextPlus) that run on smartphones and – more and more – resemble the SMS experience.

The start of a shake-out amongst internet messaging services, with the battleground moving from user experience to reach and quality-of-service.

The explosive growth in broadband-consuming devices impacting the availability of internet messaging services that rely on a working IP connection.

The emergence of hybrid messaging services that combine and integrate the reliability and reach of SMS with the user experience delivered by internet brands, creating the opportunity to fast-track the launch of rich communication services by operators.

“The messaging ecosystem is evolving, with established and new messaging services all aspiring to best address consumer demand,” notes Taco Schoute, head of messaging at Acision. “In the end, this is a balancing act between user experience, reach, quality of service and cost, whether paid for by the users or ad-sponsored. The new players are winning ground very fast, but still have a long way to go before reaching critical mass comparable to operator-based messaging services such as SMS. Providing mass-market messaging services for a plethora of devices, with differing capabilities, multiple operators and various network types has its complexities. In order to provide a service that is attractive as well as profitable and sustainable, any messaging service must be underpinned by a robust messaging architecture which is scalable and can seamlessly integrate the various messaging technologies it is aiming to provide access to. This all creates opportunities for operators, who work together with internet messaging players, and are able to offer the best of both worlds.”

Mobile Data Charging
Continued pressure from regulators for mobile operators to cap and/or inform users of mobile data usage at home and abroad due to ongoing issues with consumer “bill shock”.

Increased competitive pressure for operators to retain customers that want to be empowered by putting them in control of their spending on mobile data, voice, and messaging.

More operators looking to move quickly and cost effectively to deploy real-time charging capabilities across their entire user base to address regulatory requirements, retain customers by enabling spend control, and reduce bad debt due to bill shock.

Consolidation and acquisitions in the charging arena, as larger traditional billing players are trying to fill gaps in their product portfolio for adjunct real-time systems. As network policy-based optimisation becomes a reality, there will also be more dependency to couple that with financial “policy” that enables operators to quickly deploy new tariff structures that helps to shape mobile broadband traffic and monetise new network policy-based differentiation.

“The end of unlimited data packages (by the majority of operators) is the first step towards effectively addressing network constraints due to the explosion of mobile broadband usage, but is a temporary fix, rather than a definitive solution,” says Robert Jones, VP of business development and product marketing at Acision. “To retain customers and further grow revenues, it is becoming increasingly important for operators to focus on a cycle of consumer empowerment that will offer consumers control and choice over how much and when they spend on the services that are important to them; establish a trusting relationship with end users where they are confident that they receive good value for their services and are always aware of what they are being charged for; and enhance targeting and promotion of new offers to help differentiate between services and personalise the end-user experience.

“Central to revolutionising mobile data charging and enabling the level of differentiation that mobile users require, is for operators to provide real-time charging capability to all users in their customer base (both pre and post paid). Providing this capability quickly and cost effectively is key, and deployment of adjunct charging systems that can leverage existing infrastructure is becoming widely recognised as a better alternative to a “rip and replace” of existing charging systems. We expect this to be a significant trend for 2011, as more operators move towards real-time charging to recognise the value in offering greater individual choice and control.”

Acision is attending Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona in Hall 8, stand 8A93.