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Traffic Jams Ahead: How to Handle the Mobile Data Tsunami

by Philip Kendall | Feb 11, 2010

As adoption of mobile devices that provide a good user experience for Internet browsing and video consumption moves beyond early adopters—and adopters get hooked and really start to use services—traffic congestion on mobile networks becomes a real issue.

We have seen the tip of the iceberg in 2009, with some operators experiencing serious congestion issues from heavy iPhone and netbook use. More than anything, these challenges have pointed to the need to better manage heaviest users and to upgrade backhaul and in-fill Radio Access Networks (RAN) with 3G pico and microcells. Often the real challenge is one governments need to help address – how to push through faster permitting and zoning so timely upgrades can be made to keep peak capacity ahead of fast growing demand.

In addition to these critical RAN and backhaul builds, there is a simple three step model to handle the data tsunami and not get a bad rep in the press for network quality – and lessen the growing gap between traffic and revenue growth:

1) Get to Know Your Traffic: Use real-time analytics that feeds into policy control engines to see where the real issues are – and nip rogue traffic and data hogs in the bud.

2) Fill Your Toolbox: There are many solutions that feed into different layers of the network and on handsets and even in apps – get to know them, build a toolbox of complimentary solutions for both near and long term traffic management and capacity boosting. And of course- don’t forget about pricing and data caps as a tool to better align traffic with revenues. I have even heard of operators calling the top 1% or so of data hogs to find a solution – since often it is only a few heavy (even abusive) users who degrade the experience for everyone else.

 traffic toolbox

3) Monetize:

The Good News: Tools that Save you Money can Make you Money - Turn traffic streams into revenue streams. Begin to use analytics to create specialized marketing campaigns, differentiated tiered offerings, and real value proposition to users. Down the road, personalized, up-to-date and contextually aware offerings will become the norm, and today’s pricing models may even fade away.

Join my colleagues at the Strategy Analytics breakfast at MWC next week to learn more about the ramp in devices, the world of apps, and handling the traffic tsunami.

--Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Mobile Broadband Opportunities service

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