Posts Tagged ‘MBW’
In our presentation at the recent Mobile Broadband World conference in London, we made the point that some mobile operators seem to consider their job done when content reaches the RAN. They do their best to build the network, but, ultimately, what happens in the RAN is down to physics and, therefore, beyond their control.
We heard the same from the provider of a major CDN at a video optimisation event in Brussels earlier in the summer – the CDN was optimised in the core, but when it came to transmission to the RAN, well, they did the best they could, but in the end, it’s just down to physics.
While there have clearly been great efforts to ensure that networks are designed to compensate for external factors, this is the kind of thinking that led us to suggest recently that, in today’s mobile networks, “end-to-end” really means “edge to edge”. This abrogation of responsibility is, we mused during our presentation, rather like launching a homing pigeon into the air on a race. You did a super job getting it into race fitness, you transported it to the point of take-off, but what happens now is beyond your control. It might be buffeted by winds. It might be eaten by a hawk. Who knows? It will probably arrive in one piece, but statistics – and experience – prove that some do not.
We don’t believe that it is just physics. We believe that you can take steps to ensure service quality and service experience even in the RAN. We believe that true end-to-end service management and delivery is possible. This can be achieved by extending the existing – and proven – policy control framework into the RAN and onto mobile devices.
By deploying PCEF capabilities onto mobile devices, operators can take responsibility for the service conditions in the RAN. Of course, physics takes a part, but we can do better than cast packets into the great unknown. We can exceed best effort and introduce service performance guarantees.
That’s the beauty of device level solutions – ensuring end-to-end service performance becomes a key operator asset that can be leverage for internal and external benefit, helping differentiate services, attract new partnerships and increasing customer satisfaction. A win-win all round.
At the Mobile Broadband World conference in London today, we heard from a number of operators that are actively considering launching service plans based on QoS as a differential. QoS, according to at least one speaker, would offer the next generation of choice for users.
To date, we have primarily considered two dimensions on which broadband plans can be differentiated (beyond a simple yardstick, such as price) – speed and the mode of access. The addition of quality as a third dimension opens up the possibility for new models and new revenue streams, potentially heralding a new generation of associated services.
First, quality can be paid for directly by the end user – perhaps dynamically to increase download speed or to guarantee quality for a video session. Secondly, quality can be paid for indirectly by the end user, as in cases where the service provider delivers an enhanced package but pays the network operator for the additional quality levels, the differential being transparent to the paying consumer.
At least one of the operators present is taking the first steps towards such a model, distinguishing between different traffic classes, such as “conversational” “streaming” “interactive” “background” in plans that are offered to paying customers.
This is a key step forward. Cementing the concept of quality as a service within price plans and business models is a necessary step to the goal of capturing more value from consumers and delivering the kind of intelligent services operators will need to protect and grow revenue and margin.
Of course, these are early days and these ideas are bound to evolve. But, incorporating QoS into pricing plans is a clear recognition that operators can add value to subscriber sessions in ways that are uniquely within their control. This is an opportunity to claim more value – both to downstream customers and to upstream service providers.