Clare McCarthy, John Mazur, and Mark Giles
Traffic overload was one of the big themes of the 2011 Mobile World Congress.
The growing range of 3G-enabled devices, falling price points of smartphones, and increasing number of Internet enabled tablets will continue to drive growth in mobile broadband data volumes. However, operators cannot afford to let traffic flood their networks while prices continue to fall.
The solution is to control bandwidth, but MNOs must ensure that the process they use to do this is perceived to be transparent and fair to their customers. This can be achieved by expanding policy management and controls, and combining them with the customer data held in business support systems (BSS), which will enable operators to develop charging plans based on multiple parameters. The outcome will provide operators with a sustainable revenue stream, improved customer service, and the ability to shape traffic on their mobile broadband networks.
Mobile network congestion demands a response
As the number of connected devices increases, mobile broadband data volumes are rising exponentially, and it is widely expected that within five years more than half of all traffic will be video. The surge in data traffic on mobile broadband networks is placing a heavy burden on operators’ limited network capacity and spectrum. In this environment, MNOs need to find ways to manage their traffic load while charging for services, personalize an assured customer experience, and increase their agility and response times.
One of the tools that operators can use to combat network congestion is policy management. Policy management is most often applied at a network level using quota tracking and management products that manage congestion and optimize the routing of traffic. In the last 18 months, there has been significant activity in the policy space focusing on a next-generation implementation for policy and charging control and of the policy and charging rule function (PCRF).