Monetizing mobile data traffic

Monetizing mobile data traffic

Tinniam V. Ganesh  |   May 31, 2010
Avenues for CSPs
There are four ways to turn this bandwidth crunch into an opportunity.
The first technique is to study the usage patterns of the subscribers. The CSPs need to identify the applications that are most frequently used and have high-bandwidth demands. CSPs may be required to perform deep-packet inspection (DPI) to determine the kind of traffic in the network. They can then apply premium charging for high-bandwidth traffic.
CSPs need to have policy set that apply different policies based on the type of traffic.   This provides the opportunity to charge a premium for specific kinds of traffic usage based on the policies set. The downside is that it may not go down well with subscribers used to flat-rate charging.
The second method is mobile ads, which avoids charging customers more. Carriers can subsidize data services by running ads. The mobile ads should be non-intrusive and non-distracting to the user. They can be displayed at the top or the bottom of the screen – for example, when the subscriber is looking through his/her contact list. Subscribers using data intensive applications such as video streaming  may be required to watch a 30-second commercial prior to the start of the clip.
The third technique is to enter into an innovative business model with content providers or owners. Some lessons can be learned here by the models adopted by successful enterprises like Google, Yahoo, eBay and PayPal. These organizations receive a fee for facilitating a particular service, be it hosting an ad on a web page or facilitating a payment.
Carriers should enter into a business model with content owners whereby a small fee is received by CSPs for providing the network infrastructure for the music or video service. This would be akin to paying a toll for using a well-maintained highway.
Lastly, carriers can cut out the middleman. CSPs should consider maintaining app stores that provide not just downloadable applications, but also content such as music and videos. Carriers can then generate revenue from providing both the content and the infrastructure for transport of the content to the mobile.
Tinniam V. Ganesh ( is a  20-year telecom veteran, with experience at Nortel, Lucent, Motorola and Telecordia.

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