Policy control comes of age

Juhani Hintikka
Comptel Corporation
As the telecom industry rapidly evolves and an exponential increase in customer usage data burdens networks, policy management strategies are taking center stage.
 
The enhanced communications marketplace, with a focus on customer experience, is bringing a renewed interest in delivering services differently. To revamp policy control strategies and manage today’s evolving communications marketplace, operators will face a familiar question: how do we balance revenue, customer satisfaction, and resources?
 
A few years ago, operators entered the first phase of policy control, which focused on controlling the network and capping data use. Operators saw traffic volumes diverging dramatically from anticipated revenues, and thought the best solution was to deter the use of data services. As traffic moved away from peer-to-peer dominance and towards a more mass market pattern of use dominated by Internet and, particularly, video access, operators changed policy control tactics and entered a new phase that encourages data use and moves towards smarter prioritization.
 
The recent phase involves striking a balance between promoting the use of data where resources were plentiful, and operating prioritization when resources are scarce to ensure the maximum payback on network investments.
 
Results show a more optimized use of the network capacity and increased revenue by enabling customers to choose the amount of bandwidth and usage volume needed. The business model of smarter prioritization is now combining with an intense level of customer focus to drive the next phase in policy control.
 
The future of policy control is centered on content prioritization, tailored to customer needs. Content prioritization is one aspect of “customer experience management” – the industry’s current buzz words. Communications service providers understand that their policy control strategy must ensure an engaging customer experience. Instead of waiting for customer service calls, operators are proactively reacting to customer needs by monitoring the user experience and analyzing the details of customer behavior so they can react in real-time to user requests.
 

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