The Impact of $100 Smartphones

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

The Impact of $100 Smartphones

In last week’s blog I explored the surge in mobile data traffic. And when economical smartphones enter the scene, most likely throughout the course of 2012, the surge will simply continue. The IDC Asia “Confronting Telecom’s Network Challenge” report says, “Consumer behavior in these markets will be similar to that in mature markets. Consumers in mature markets have demonstrated an addictive nature to mobile applications…”

Or put another way, data and video traffic will continue.

As I’ve stated in other blogs, this will create “Telecom’s Network Challenge,” that is, how do service providers satiate their subscriber’s data demands while at the same time make money? After all, there will clearly be network stress for years to come. So there are going to have to be solutions, most likely a combination of them.

One method that has already been implemented is pricing plans to limit the data hogs. As data usage increases, wireless service providers will most likely continue to fine tune this strategy.

But there are other methods as well, such as making the cellular networks faster by upgrading the networks. However, while this method makes the connection faster, it may actually have an interesting side effect. That being, since the connection is faster, people will use it more! In fact, according to the Cisco VNI report, a 4G connection generated 28 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection!

So now what? Well, another key of course is to offload the mobile traffic to fixed networks. An example of this is when you are on WiFi, say sitting in Times Square in New York City or in your house. The data coming to or from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone will be on the WiFi wireless network, but that’s only for the first or last 100 or so feet. According to the Cisco VNI report mentioned in last week’s blog, that is already 33% of the traffic to smartphones and tablets.

But you aren’t  going to be close to a WiFi connection or some kind of femtocell.  So now what to do? The IDC “Confronting Telecom’s Network Challenge” report also gives another viewpoint on this: “Telcos across the region have experienced a surge in mobile network and congestion, and many have been forced to invest heavily in backhaul infrastructure, increased capacity and network optimization.”

In other words, another piece of the solution is installing mobile backhaul optimization and network optimization solutions. These solutions can provide ROI to the service provider in as little as 4 to 6 months. Read the report and visit our optimization webpage for more information.

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