Home EuropeEurope II 2009 Change today for tomorrow’s demands

Change today for tomorrow’s demands

by david.nunes
Ben McCahillIssue:Europe II 2009
Article no.:14
Topic:Change today for tomorrow’s demands
Author:Ben McCahill
Title:Director of Mobile Strategy
PDF size:256KB

About author

Ben McCahill is the Director of Mobile Strategy at Tellabs. Mr McCahill has held various roles since he joined Tellabs in R&D, Customer Services, and Product Management as well as serving as Head of the regional Business Solutions Group in EMEA. Mr McCahill left Tellabs for three years to join e-Net, an operator in the fibre wholesale market and re-joined it in his current role. Mr McCahill has over 15 years experience in networking and ten years in telecoms; prior to joining Tellabs, he worked in the UK, USA and the Far East. Ben McCahill holds a Bachelor Degree in Engineering from the University College Dublin and a Master of Science degree from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.

Article abstract

According to a recent survey, the future of the mobile industry is increasingly tied to data. A recent survey of more than 50,000 mobile users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United States showed that more than half of the mobile data users in those countries expect to increase their usage in the next two years and that many new users will join them. To efficiently meet the demand, operators need to begin upgrading their platforms now.

Full Article

The pace of change in the mobile industry is arguably faster than any other. The mass-market uptake of mobile Internet among subscribers, together with the arrival of the ‘applications supermarket’ business model and the proliferation of user-generated content, shows the pace at which the mobile industry is evolving. It is moving in an exciting new direction where data functions and services provide new opportunities for people to communicate and interact with one another seamlessly while on the move. As the mobile industry as a whole becomes more data-centric, operators are getting more and more nimble. This puts them in the best position to react as quickly as possible to meet consumer expectations. Of course, when it comes to forecasting what mobile customers will want, a crystal ball would be handy, but here in the real world, the best course is to cultivate an in-depth understanding of customers and their requirements – now and for the future. Knowledge is power Armed with comprehensive market data, operators can prepare their networks for a large array of differentiated mobile data services and deliver the quality that those services deserve. We commissioned the Nielsen Company to undertake the first major in-depth survey of mobile users during the economic downturn. The survey investigated the future intent of current users and non-users of ten mobile data services, covering mobile email, multimedia messaging (MMS), music downloads, mobile video, LBS/GPS, mobile Internet, uploading photos, game downloads, software/application downloads and mobile commerce. More than 50,000 mobile users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United States participated in the study. The survey showed that more than half of the approximately 200 million mobile data users in those countries expect to increase their usage in the next two years, increasing the network traffic from services such as mobile Internet, email, photo uploading and MMS. Mobile data usage up The results provide detailed insight into mobile data user attitudes. Despite the economic slump, consumers intend to increase use of the analysed mobile data services dramatically; more than half of the current mobile data users expect to increase use in the next two years. Mobile Internet leads demand, followed by email, MMS, uploading photos and software/applications download. In most countries, convenience tends to be the leading lifestyle factor driving use of services, followed by entertainment and then work and socialising. For operators, the positive trend in demand shown by the survey can represent a multi-million dollar opportunity. Addressing user concerns Mobile users continue to raise concerns about cost, speed and quality of service. So while it is clear that mobile data is here to stay operators must also note the issues highlighted by the survey: cost (too expensive or unclear), speed, quality and reliability. The results underline one key point: if operators want to meet users’ expectations, they must act now to make sure their networks are ready for the growth in demand for high-speed mobile services. Is your network up to the task? Pressure on networks will be compounded since 41 per cent of European and 71 per cent of US respondents anticipate daily use of mobile Internet services. Mobile email is on a similar growth trajectory and it is increasingly available on a range of mobile devices. The sustained increase in high-bandwidth applications and corresponding data traffic will create significant challenges for mobile operators looking to maintain profitability. Since most of the growth is expected within the next 12 months, this issue demands immediate attention. Operators who address these challenges early will take advantage of the increasing demand, while enhancing margins. However, this demand presents operators with a further challenge. Network development critical to future competitive differentiation and success is required at a time when the telecommunications sector – like everyone else – is in a period of economic turmoil. Yet even conservative estimates suggest that there will be 200 million broadband-enabled mobile devices in use by 2011. This trend and the accompanying consumer hunger for services as outlined by the Nielsen survey means that it simply is not viable to delay investments that will enable operators to manage the rapid technology change required to support these services. A reluctance of some telecommunications players to move quickly is understandable. Many are used to making incremental, tactical changes to their network capabilities and, until recently, that was a reasonable approach. The pace of technological evolution and innovation is relentless. Reactive network changes no longer enable operators to stay ahead of application and service development. Operators could be left behind as technology trends overtake their networks, and services running with more complex combinations of transport protocols demand increased bandwidth. Challenge and opportunity Now is the time to take a strategic approach to network development. For some operators, that will mean radically adjusting cost structures to reduce operating expenses, streamline operations and increase backhaul efficiency. The key to success lies in a forward-looking strategy based on the concept of a single provisioning model. This approach will enable operators to deliver consistently fast, accurate and scalable services regardless of data type. If backhaul networks are to support the new wave of multi-protocol services, operators must restructure their networks around flexible, transport-agnostic, managed anchor points that remain constant, but enable attached components – services and protocols – to be developed as required. This strategy maximises the network’s ability to support multiple protocols, service delivery options and traffic types at the same time. It also helps network planners select the most economic transport protocol for services while ensuring vital quality of service. Given the current economic climate, it would be both imprudent and unsustainable to suggest immediate, large-scale, backhaul replacement. It is possible, however, to plan changes that will meet the anticipated rise in demand for services and provide profitable service delivery in an appropriate timescale. Operators should do this now, while accommodating data growth is still manageable and before traffic volumes become overwhelming. Operators must identify network limitations, so they can begin anchor point installation and roll out changes, first to less stressed points, until the whole network is a single, future-ready platform. Lead with effective backhaul Many operators have already responded to the market trends, and are initiating backhaul network developments. The UK’s BT Group is deploying access platforms in the Ethernet-based mobile backhaul service that gives mobile operators access to its ‘21CN’ next-generation network. Vodafone’s Backhaul Evolution Programme is designed to reduce network costs across its 16 operating companies. This Backhaul Evolution Programme is a classic example of how an operator is tackling the need for strategic change today. Vodafone began its programme in Ireland, where it has a high dependency on microwave. It is using the platform to introduce statistical multiplexing gains, collecting numerous small sites and multiplexing them on a packet basis to obtain backhaul efficiency. As the project evolves, Vodafone plans to use the information it delivers to drive the changes required in its other operating companies. If operators reduce these cost structures now and make sure service delivery is accurate and consistent, and is delivered using the most economic available transport, they will be well placed in an increasingly competitive market. They can seize a key role in service rollout, turning the challenge of bandwidth demand into an exciting opportunity to meet user expectations with proven network quality and tightly managed transport costs. Plan for tomorrow The findings of the survey present mobile operators with a clear route forward. They must prepare their networks today for the mobile data services and applications users will demand tomorrow. The research substantiates what operators have been hoping for over the past few years – those who use mobile communications will want to use them more. Services will become even more sophisticated and customers say they want them sooner rather than later. It is therefore clear that if operators are to benefit from the growing appetite for mobile data, they need to act now to ensure that their networks are ready to deliver high quality service and a positive experience for the end-user. Only then will the potential of mobile data be fulfilled – for operators and customers alike.

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More