|Topic:||Mobile Data – A smart Approach to Traffic Management|
Manoranjan ‘Mao’ Mohapatra is Chief Executive Officer of Comviva. Mr Mohapatra’s career has been dedicated to the development and deployment of innovative software communications solutions in rapidly growing markets, transforming high potential businesses into true world-beating organisations. His track record for enabling innovation, his deep knowledge of telecom related technology and his wealth of experience in a range of operational and marketing roles provide a strong leadership base from which to enhance Comviva’s position as the global leader in providing mobile solutions beyond VAS in the emerging markets.
Prior to joining Comviva, Mr Mohapatra was President and COO at Aricent, where he enjoyed a 15 year career and was instrumental in building the company from a relative start up to a globally recognized brand, with over US$300 million in revenues. At Aricent, Mr Mohapatra led teams in the areas of R&D, product management, operations, and sales and marketing, gaining hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge of the software and communication industries and honing his leadership talent.
Before moving to Aricent, Mr Mohapatra began his career as a core member of the Center for Development of Telematics (CDOT), where he made a significant contribution to research and development in telecom switching.
Mao Mohapatra holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani.
India is witnessing unprecedented growth in Mobile Internet traffic, particularly by first-time Internet users who have no access to PCs. This explosive traffic growth, just as it is in the West, is due to bandwidth intensive and quality sensitive video-based traffic. This compels service providers to re-assess the balance between Capex to ARPU and between QoE (Quality of Experience) to churn. With the right strategies, greater network efficiency can increase capacity without the high costs of augmenting the infrastructure. Service providers now realise that they must manage the ‘data pipe’. They should implement MOM (Manage, Optimise, Monetise) strategy to improve their end-to-end service delivery, with a set of integrated network management tools.
’Mobile Data’ is one of the most discussed topics globally, especially among telecom service providers in emerging markets. According to a recent global research report published in Nov 2011, the total number of mobile internet users would grow 25-fold between 2010 and 2015, reaching 788 million mobile-only Internet users, with Asia Pacific accounting for over half of these mobile-only Internet users. Average Smartphone usage doubled to 79 MB per month in 2010, up from 35 MB per month in 2009. These high growth rates indicate that the demand for wireless data market is evolving rapidly from relatively modest levels in many emerging markets. With this demand comes increase in the data revenues. Almost all operators report high growth in revenues of up to 25 per cent. For example Vodafone in the annual report has stated that their data revenues have grown at 26.4 per cent Year on Year. The data ARPU contribution has increased to 13 per cent of the total operator revenue in 2010.
Catalysts for this tremendous growth include a relative lack of fixed Internet infrastructure, the growing highly available 3G networks, accelerated adoption of smart phones and the influx of application stores. Owing to this explosive data traffic, telecom service providers are striving to provide a high-performance network to deliver rewarding user experience, encourage long-term customer loyalty and support market differentiating service offerings.
Sustained growth in traffic volumes has the potential to overwhelm network resources, introduce higher latency on the network and negatively impact the overall quality of service delivered to subscribers. The sheer volumes of data has also been due to the varied mix of traffic transiting through the network, which has altered the current approach that service providers have taken to manage this growth. Wireless networks must scale even further to support delay-sensitive, real-time multi-play services such as interactive gaming, Mobile TV and streaming video which are bandwidth intensive applications.
The profitability of telecom service provider’s data operations depends on how they respond to the explosive growth in mobile data traffic. Simply augmenting the network infrastructure is a capital intensive proposition. As competition is fierce and there are limits to consumer data service charges, operators are faced with a trade-off between the CAPEX-to-revenue ratio and the quality of experience — unless they handle traffic more intelligently and smartly.
So far, service providers have depended on niche vendors offering point solutions, addressing individual problems, which make the overall task extremely complex. The onus to envision a comprehensive blueprint and orchestrate the implementation of the complete infrastructure enhancement falls on the service provider. Such complex network upgrades require deeper engagement from the telecom service provider in handling end to end service delivery. This limits time available for innovation in service offerings. The increased dependency on multiple vendors who cannot function in a cohesive manner leads to long testing cycles and to delays in marketing activities, such as launching new plans, bundles and promotions.
Given this fact, today service providers are looking at solutions that can fully address their end-to-end needs for traffic growth from a single vendor. The challenges are centred on managing, optimising and monetising data traffic. They are now looking at an integrated, consistent, unified, solid solution for data ‘pipe’ management that delivers a hassle-free and smooth experience to the subscribers and service providers. Acknowledging that data pipes will need to be controlled and shaped, service providers have begun to understand the need for data plans that are scaled to suit their market demands.
Adopting effective traffic management techniques and suitable data plans will enable service providers to control their data pipe effectively and offer differentiated service and charging offering. The Manage, Optimise and Monetise (MOM) strategy will address user expectations for an enhanced Internet experience, provide the flexibility to quickly launch new service plans, simplify charging and increase penetration, thereby having an overall impact on the increased ARPU.
The MOM strategy for mobile data platforms can offer a variety of solutions in order to overcome the prime concerns of service providers:
• Service Management: granular, real-time control and allocation of bandwidth resources by defining and enforcing a broad set of policies at subscriber, service, device and protocol levels, based on network status to manage and optimise use of existent capacity more effectively.
• Service Optimisation: optimises diverse traffic streams using tools such as caching, transcoding and bandwidth adaptation.
• Service Monetisation: supports differentiated, tiered monetisation models based on multiple parameters – time of day (peak or off-peak), destination, quota consumption and application type to monetise the value delivered to subscribers with a variety of new revenue models.
With this MOM strategy, more and more operators are now convinced that a single integrated solution such as this is needed to address the upcoming challenges in managing the mobile data growth. The key is to achieve consistently improved user experience through smarter traffic management.
It is imperative for the solution offerings to optimise operators’ spend on often expensive network infrastructure and thereby result in faster ROI (Return on Investment). An integrated solution that incorporates the MOM strategy would result in reducing the operator’s CAPEX and OPEX and at the same time offer flexibility to create differentiators in their competitive markets, in a timely manner. Furthermore, given the exponential growth already experienced in mobile data and still expected in future, the solution should offer capacity scalability and added functionality with minimal disruption to live service.
Mobile operators must now prepare for the coming surge in data traffic. There is a number of distinct opportunities for them to deliver greater operational efficiency, commercial agility and better customer experience by choosing the most effective strategy.