Forecasting Brings Fairness
It seems we are entering another period where the infrastructure and application providers are not seeing eye to eye. According to KPN CEO Eelco Blok, Apple and Google should help to upgrade and maintain mobile data networks since they gain revenues from the existence of the networks but do not contribute to the necessary maintenance and expansion.
"They use our networks without having to make any investment. This is an untenable situation in the telecom sector," stated Blok bluntly.
Apparently, this stems from the usage associated with the instant messaging WhatsApp service which grew dramatically over a period of several months. KPN, the mobile provider in the Netherlands, claims the applications have been adopted by “almost all of our younger smartphone customers” obviously stressing his mobile network.
My initial reaction was Blok protests too much. After all, in most cases, KPN experiences a revenue increase along with the adoption of the new service. However, further reflection did present me with an alternative view. It takes investment and time to build out or expand a network. Carriers use sophisticated models to determine where, when and how much to build. When ASPs, like Apple and Google, release new services that are expected to generate a new wave of traffic without giving notice to the carriers, this can negatively affect all network users. Perhaps, it’s inappropriate that KPN get compensation from the ASPs but it is clearly appropriate for them to receive notice of these new applications.
Executing non-disclosure agreements with the ASPs should protect the business interest of each. Sharing information will improve the carriers’ ability to forecast future infrastructure requirements. Additionally, they would also be in a position to develop new calling plans to better fit their customer bases changing patterns. Upon even further reflection, it would be good for an ITSP, like Broadvox, to know of impending events, services or applications that are expected to noticeably affect traffic volumes and patterns.
Patrick S. Ryan, Policy Counsel at Google, is correct in writing Everyone Already Pays their Fair Share but a little cooperation in providing insight into future product offerings might silence or reduce carrier complaints.