Apparently, 80% of customers believe QoS is a key issue when choosing a mobile service provider. Now, a few years ago, the only issues that concerned consumers were basically:
- Price; and
So signal strength and the cost were the only considerations. Then, as the market became more competitive, customer service became an additional factor. But now, with the rapid growth of mobile broadband and significantly increased data access, a more complex situation has emerged. Users are becoming aware that the quality of their experience (QoE) is affected by a number of other factors, such as:
- Call quality;
- Data rate;
- Dropped calls; and
- Ability to place a call in a congested cell.
The sum of these can significantly affect perceptions of quality and thus mobile service providers have to address each of these issues. There is a growing demand for QoS which actually delivers. Not just the promised speed of mobile data access, but the ability to ensure that even basic voice calls remain active and that they just work every time. QoS, long taken for granted is becoming a key differentiator as demand grows. Mobile service providers need to ensure that, not only is coverage seamless, but that they can deliver the right service at the right time: a real-time event, such as a voice call, is more important than a video download, which can be viewed after collection. At the same time, users do not want to wait forever to receive requested content, so an appropriate delivery rate has to be applied. What’s more, the situation will get worse as more and more users adopt rich forms of communication, such as video calling and networks shift to the converged, all-packet model of LTE. Unless the right QoS for video calling is in place, users simply will not adopt services.
All of this adds up to a problem for mobile service providers – just to deliver the promised services, they need to work harder, and that’s before they start deploying mass forms of enhanced services like the Rich Communications Suite (RCS), which will are predicted to dramatically increase demand. It’s like the Red Queen: you have to run very fast just to stay in the same place.
It’s time QoS was moved to the forefront of considerations. There’s little chance of new initiatives like RCS being adopted unless the right QoS conditions are in place. It’s time to make QoS a key factor in service launch, not just the market potential or glossy marketing campaigns. Without a sound approach to QoS, it’s unlikely that enhanced communications services will succeed at all, despite what analysts forecast.