Andrew Mackay, Cisco’s manager for mobile architectures for Asia-Pacific, Japan and China, defines the Next-Gen Internet and explains what it will mean to telcos
Mobile Internet: What is the expected impact of the boom in smartphones and tablets on mobile networks and how can telcos prepare for the impending surge?
Andrew Mackay: Smartphones and tablets offer a tremendous opportunity for operators to redefine their role in the mobile ecosystem, but they also threaten the foundation of their business.
The mobile broadband era started with bundled 3G modem plans mainly for corporate users. With little scope for operator differentiation once coverage and speeds became comparable, inevitable price wars eroded revenue while encouraging consumption, hitting profitability with a double whammy. Most APAC markets are still stuck in this vicious circle. This new smartphone era offers a way to regain differentiation, built not just on ‘dumb’ access but also by shaping the services and content the devices enable.
However, embracing smartphones and tablets means operators face exponential throughput demands, while competing with a host of new players for a share of subscriber spend. These devices also encourage use of ‘off-net’ Wi-Fi access whenever possible, which threatens the heart of an operators proposition, where controlling internet access itself is no longer a given.
Preparing for the boom means being able to scale capacity without costs spirally, and having the right business framework and network enablers to shape the complete user experience.
How does Cisco define the Next-Generation Internet?
The Next Generation Internet is mobile, not fixed in time or space. A user no longer wants silo services but rich multi-media ‘My Way’ experiences that follow them through-out the day as they live, work and play. A device is no longer a handset or dongle, but any-screen media players and internet portals, plus no-screen connected things.
For the operator the Next Generation Internet is one of unpredictable demand and business models. Rapid device and application developments spur rapid network demands and constantly changing user services. The old days of the operator controlling the eco-system, hence service demand, are over, now it is a much more dynamic and complex place to do business.
We are calling this the ‘new normal’ since the operator needs new approaches to remain profitable. Sustainability in this new normal requires new network attributes: heterogeneous, elastic, intelligent and orchestrated.