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Archive for September, 2011

#Verizon to throttle heavy users #BSSOSS #capcrunch #mobile

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

It has been reported that US MNO Verizon is to introduce throttling to control the consumption of some of their heaviest data users. As is the case in many networks, a minority of users consume the greatest amount of capacity. The result can be that the user experience for everyone else is affected by the demand of the few.

In response to this, Verizon plans to slow down the experience of the small group of heavy users. And, what’s more, they don’t appear to plan to do so universally, but rather on an ad-hoc basis when activity causes too much congestion in a particular cell.

This means that the heavy users can download or upload to their heart’s content when resources are available, but have to slow down when other, less demanding users are active. And, the changes are reflected in the next month’s bill.

We have seen a range of responses from MNOs to increased demands for network consumption lately and will likely see many more. Slowly but surely, the industry is inching away from flat rate data tariffs to a model more suited to the reality of broadband services. It should be self-evident that some users are more demanding than others, but it’s equally clear that, once this heavy consumption has an impact on other users, action needs to be taken.

France moves to end flat-rate access. Will there be a ‘domino’ effect?

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Venerable news agency Reuters recently reported that French telcos are planning to charge higher fees for users who consume more bandwidth. According to the report, 5% of users consume 80% of the available bandwidth.

Although the end of flat-rate access or all-you-can-eat plans has been predicted for some time, it seems that, when it happens, it will be spearheaded by some pioneering countries and telcos. And, this is what we have seen in the mobile industry, but less attention has been paid to fixed access, where the same problems have also emerged. But will there be a ‘domino’ effect and how quickly will this spread?

In fact, while Reuters suggests that the move will anger consumers, the end of flat-rate pricing in other countries is the more important issue. How quickly will this spread and what will happen to those telcos and countries that hold out against ending flat-rate access? If the industry moves quickly, any telco that maintains flat-rate plans will start to look uncompetitive as a business, particularly as the cost of providing bandwidth isn’t going to go away.

And, as for angering consumers, many may well be happy to see the end of effective subsidisation of those who consume all the resources. Of course, the telcos will need to ensure this message comes across – if the figures are to be believed, this shouldn’t be a difficult pill to swallow, but positioning is all and it’s vital that the 95% of users with more reasonable bandwidth demands are clear that the moves may benefit them in the future.

But, ending flat-rate pricing isn’t enough. Telcos have to be able to develop pricing plans that reflect real usage and consumption at the same time as ensuring that paid-for services perform as they are supposed to. Metering access is only part of that story. It will be important to enable users to change consumption demands as they need it and to obtain more or less bandwidth as required. Telcos will need real-time visibility and control of user consumption and application performance in order to ensure that their customers feel they are securing benefits.

So, yes, there probably will be a ‘domino’ effect, but telcos will also have to implement solutions that enable them to go beyond metered access and to adjust performance according to demands, which requires a level of visibility and control that is currently beyond the capabilities of their networks and devices.