The mobile sector hears a lot about network transformation these days, as data volumes increase exponentially and customers increasingly expect anytime-anywhere services. However, it’s a tricky business to distill the overall concept of “network transformation” into a tangible plan of action that meets those demands.
A number of buzzwords get thrown around in the transformation discussion: software-defined networks (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and, of course, “the cloud”. The question is how operators can assemble those into a meaningful transformation strategy.
It helps to start by understanding the mobile data trends and consumer behaviors that are driving the need to transform in the first place.
Mobile broadband traffic growth is relatively easy to understand. The latest Ericsson Mobility Report recorded 80% growth in data traffic between Q3 2012 and Q3 2013. Smartphone traffic is projected to grow 10 times between 2013 and 2019.
Another study from Ericsson ConsumerLab reveals other crucial metrics involving apps’ usage. For example, the report predicts a 25% increase in the availability of apps across society this year alone. Mobile video traffic growth will exceed 75%. Smartphones are already dominating the consumer sector, with the most frequent users interacting with their smartphone more than 150 times a day, or an average of every seven minutes during the daytime.
These trends are fueling the “app everywhere” culture, says Bryan Tan, VP of fixed broadband convergence practice at Ericsson South East Asia & Oceania. “Whether for enterprise mail, storage and collaboration tools or consumer music services, photo storage, video sharing and social networking, cloud-based services are becoming engrained in our everyday lives, available to us wherever we go.”