Home Asia-Pacific III 2009 Preparing for surging mobile broadband demand

Preparing for surging mobile broadband demand

by david.nunes
Pramoda Kumar RaiIssue:Asia-Pacific III 2009
Article no.:14
Topic:Preparing for surging mobile broadband demand
Author:Pramoda Kumar Rai
Title:India Country Manager
Organisation:Allot Communications
PDF size:193KB

About author

Pramoda Kumar Rai, Allot Communications’ India Country Manager, has over 15 years of sales experience with telecom and large enterprises. Prior to Allot he worked with Radware, successfully introducing their solutions into India. Pramoda has also worked extensively with different companies providing network and gateway security solutions for telecoms and large enterprises in India. Pramoda Kumar Rai holds a B.Sc. (Honours) in Science from Bhagalpur University.

Article abstract

India is experiencing tremendous growth in the number of mobile subscribers, of which there are now an estimated 470 million. Yet, there are less than 40 million fixed and mobile broadband connections demonstrating that broadband connectivity is lagging behind. Mobile operators are focusing on expanding network capacity and creating new services to keep pace with the volume of new subscribers and demand for new applications. Operators must leverage network intelligence and bandwidth management tools in order to maximize these efforts.

Full Article

Mobile subscriber growth in India is exploding; there will be close to 490 million subscribers by the end of 2009. Not only is India the world’s fastest growing mobile market but, with ten million new mobile subscribers each month, over half the country is expected to own a mobile phone by the middle of 2012. With this growth, India is set to become the single largest mobile user-base worldwide. Mobile operators looking to evolve their infrastructure to higher-capacity broadband networks (3G, 4G) in order to take advantage of mobile data offerings and stimulate demand for media-rich services. As a result, a huge surge in the number of mobile broadband users is likely in the coming years. The mobile Internet is also well on its way to embracing open-access initiatives, and this will require operators to break down existing barriers and create an environment where mobile subscribers can access the Internet applications, content and services they want in a way that maintains the integrity of the online experience. Within India, the mobile telephony revolution is still mostly evident in the cities where the largest number of users can be found. These people are heavy voice and data users. However, mobile operators are now looking towards the vast rural market, where almost 70 per cent of the population lives. In India’s rural areas, apart from voice usage there is a huge demand for value-added services (VAS) such as ringtone downloads, SMS services and online media, music and games. This is largely due to the fact that in rural areas the sources of entertainment are limited and a mobile device can provide consumers with instant on-the-go entertainment at an affordable price. Subscriber growth in India continues to rise, driven by network expansion in rural regions, as well as the introduction of new operators, 3G/4G networks and cheaper handsets. Mobile operators are now focusing on rural opportunities, as well as on VAS offerings in saturated urban markets. Nevertheless, broadband connectivity is lagging behind and holding the market up. Today, there are less than ten million fixed and mobile broadband subscribers. It is clear that much broadband expansion will be driven by mobile demand, and indeed every mobile operator is gearing up to tap this segment which has great business potential. What is critical to the operator is how to best prepare for the surge in mobile broadband demand and to take the necessary steps to ensure that the network investment is maximized. Subscribers treat their mobile networks in much the same way as they treat their fixed networks. This is particularly true for heavy data users who seem to expect the same service from the Internet, irrespective of their access method. Mobile broadband networks face the same challenges as fixed networks – increasing bandwidth demands and subsequent congestion, bandwidth hungry applications negatively impacting subscriber quality of experience (QoE), and the ability of a few subscribers to monopolize bandwidth resources. In the mobile network, these problems are exacerbated by the network infrastructure where the cell and cell backhaul can become bandwidth bottlenecks. The convergence of voice, data, and video technologies together with bandwidth-hungry applications such as P2P is placing unprecedented pressure on mobile operators to provide the broadband capacity they need. Operators need to meet these needs while struggling to satisfy consumer expectations of ever-better service at ever-lower prices. In order to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) and create new revenue streams, many service providers are turning to triple-play services, a combination of voice, data and video. However, in attempting to accomplish this in a cost-effective and integrated fashion, service providers must find a way to overcome the challenges from P2P, gaming, and other applications that degrade and clog their networks. Mobile operators must not only expand network capacity when necessary, but also extract key information from their network in order to optimize the existing infrastructure. This optimization will also facilitate the ability to create new services that can deliver better Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE). Network intelligence and optimization have become ‘must have’ requirements for operators in order to achieve visibility and control of their ever-growing infrastructure. Media-rich, real-time traffic such as VoIP, video and gaming depends on reliable network QoS for the delivery of its delay and jitter-sensitive content. In the packet-based IP domain, this is a great challenge that requires advanced traffic management and policy enforcement methods to ensure QoE. As a result, providers of mobile broadband services face a number of unique challenges, including: • lack of visibility into mobile Internet usage; • increasing congestion of backhaul capacity; • ensuring QoS and QoE of mobile Internet services; • declining ARPU; • protecting the network against denial of service (DoS) attacks; and • regulatory compliance. Network and bandwidth optimization systems are cost-effective alternatives to expensive infrastructure additions as a means of controlling network resource usage. They also make it possible to add differentiated services and tiered/quota payment-plan options by driving the network operator’s usage control down to the subscriber-application level. Traffic monitoring, application optimization and subscriber management combine to help operators deploy revenue-generating services, gain a competitive foothold in a crowded service provider market, and deliver a stronger bottom line. Managing both aggregate and per-subscriber traffic behaviour allows the service provider to deploy new premium services and to enforce fair-use among subscribers, all important capabilities for ARPU improvement. As mobile operators face the never-ending challenges of keeping up with subscriber usage trends and stiff competition, they will continue to look to value-added services as a way of increasing revenue streams. The insights and control afforded by technologies such as DPI (deep packet inspection) allow operators to personalize the services they offer their subscribers, resulting in improved customer satisfaction, reduced churn, and increased ARPU. However, in addition to their proven capabilities, performance and reputation, these systems must ensure openness and compliance with industry standards. Bandwidth management tools allow operators to build QoS policies, especially for the needs of delay-sensitive traffic. Policy definitions may be used to apply any combination of priority, bandwidth allocation, access, traffic-shaping and quota actions per application or per subscriber to ensure QoE. Advantages can include: • revenue generation via new services; • bandwidth savings; • guaranteed and consistent QoE; • reduced churn and support costs; and • business Intelligence – that can be used to reach business goals. In the end, it is in the mobile operator’s interest to marshal the potential of the network and the wealth of information that it provides. Leveraging this information and managing the network is not only in the mobile operator’s best interest, but also in the interest of the subscriber. Use of mobile and data networks will continue to explode over the next several years, and if it is not managed appropriately, it will cease to function properly which will negatively impinge on everyone’s use.

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