Until recently, there has been a range of contrasting positions to the growing phenomenon of mobile tethering. Some MNOs have been resolutely opposed to the practice, while others have steadfastly ignored it. However, new research by Analysys Mason suggests that it’s time to formalise arrangements and convert tethering to a revenue opportunity.
According to Analysys Mason, 37% of users in a number of key markets have used mobile tethering at least once. However, the percentage is higher among those users with tablet devices. Rather than using mobile broadband packages to obtain connectivity for tablets, users are instead opting either to use Wi-Fi or else connect via tethering to their smartphone.
The conclusion from the research is that MNOs need to consider including tethering options for multiple devices in their smartphone data packages and to capture revenue for them. While dongle-enabled mobile broadband for laptops remains popular, increasingly users will shift to tablets, which in turn, means that they will need more connectivity. Introducing flexible, multi-device packages for smartphone users will help meet this need.
What this means is that MNOs will need to be able to manage connectivity better. They may want to charge for this capability via the delivery of flexible and dynamic policies. Alternatively, they may seek to incorporate it into existing plans and simply to manage the experience. In either case, MNOs will need the ability to adjust network conditions to optimise the experience for applications accessed while tethering.
MNOs need a reliable way to identify mobile tethering and to deliver their chosen policy. Since tethering is activated on the mobile device, the ability to recognise tethering could enable the support of additional services, such as the dynamic selection of best available network. They will need to take advantage of Policy on the Device (PoD) solutions to deliver a range of tethering policies and to cope with an increasing range of devices that connect indirectly to the network via mobile broadband.
The solution is to deploy GoS 360°. This consists of two elements, the GoS Agent and the GoS Manager. GoS Agent resides on the handset and can determine when tethering has been activated and report this, via the GoS Manager, to the PCRF across the Gx interface. Once a tethering session has been identified, the MNO can implement its chosen policy.
The GoS solution enables MNOs to manage tethering according to the range of policies they offer customers. This means that they can more easily combine tethering with other, complementary services, such as dynamic network selection and WiFi offload. Why not contact us to find out more?