Next Generation Communications Blog

Why Pivot?

In business, a pivot is a strategy change (especially in Lean Startup processes). When you look at brick-and-mortar companies like RadioShack,...

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Thoughts on the Industry Right Now

All the forecasts: have any of them been accurate? Or is it just a way to sell reports? If it is,...

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Hosted PBX Sales Increasing

Blame some of it on the TDM-to-IP transition, but a lot of the reason that Hosted PBX sales are increasing is...

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Intel Buys Way into Tablets While $99 may be Microsoft Sweet Spot

Intel recently reported earnings and the takeaway is the company is going to focus more on Android and ramp up subsidies to...

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Why the Fax Isn't As Outdated As You Think

I wrote a blog about faxing a few months ago and got an overwhelming response. Got some comments via email and...

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Camera-Phone Opportunity Exists for Samsung

There exists an opportunity for a superior camera with 10x or greater zoom coupled with the traditional things we are used to...

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Tomorrow is Purchase Google Glass Day!

If you are a wearable tech fan, tomorrow is a big day as you will finally be able to (if you are...

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Playing the Mobile Data Game

If the 'price is right,' operators could win in mobile data.

By Cassidy Shield, Head of Global Solutions Marketing for Content, Cloud, and Communications, Alcatel-Lucent

I am bullish on the mobile broadband opportunity and pro mobile data share plans as an innovative approach to data pricing.  With that said, the irony of mobile data sharing plans is that you're not really sharing anything. Sure, multiple devices can pull from the same data pool, but there's no exchange of data, no bartering, and essentially no value associated with each byte.

That's how the market is today, in these early days of data sharing, but "gameification" has the potential to transform how consumers interact with their data plans.  Imagine a family of four, in fact I often imagine my family of four all on the same data plan. My wife could negotiate with our daughter, saying, "I will trade you 10 megabytes of data for doing your chores." Maybe my daughter who is quite clever doesn't want to do her chores, so he makes a similar deal with her brother. Each family could set their own rules for chore bartering, but what is interesting is that when data is treated as a currency with real value associated with it, the possibilities open up.

It's not just chore-evading children who would find this model interesting, but also advertisers and third parties. Brands are exploring every possible means to build their mobile presence, but the key lies in figuring out how to connect with mobile users by giving them what they want -- connectivity.

COMING SOON TO A MOBILE OPERATOR NEAR YOU: THE SIX DEGREES OF MOBILE DATA PLAN INNOVATION

 

With the final entry in the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s
Rich Crowe
(@rhcrowe) looks at how mobile operators can use (and are already using) the six degrees of mobile data plan innovation to capture and deliver more value.

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The Value of a Gigabyte

What does a gigabyte mean to you? Is it just a unit of data or something concrete, like a movie or 250 songs? Maybe it’s a means to share news and pictures and stay connected. These are things with value. If you’ve got a mobile device, a gigabyte offers the freedom to take your movies, songs or connections with you anywhere you go. A mobile gigabyte can even deliver peace of mind by supporting applications that tell you where you are and how to get where you’re going at any given moment. This flexibility is also valuable.

Are some gigabytes worth more than others? Are gigabytes delivered in a fast and uninterrupted stream worth more than those that come slower with pauses and buffering? What about gigabytes that can be shared with others?

Yes, gigabytes have value. How much value depends on their quality and the way each individual uses them. It takes innovation to deliver and capture that value!

 

Every mobile network operator wants to get more value from mobile data. But today’s unlimited and basic tiered data plans ignore the value that mobile data offers to subscribers. By offering a set amount of data for a set price, operators make mobile data a commodity and encourage consumers to shop for the lowest price per gigabyte. To capture the true value of mobile data, operators need to change the way they think about – and define business models for – mobile data services.

For mobile operators, success– both in terms of customer satisfaction and profitability – means recognizing that mobile data delivers tangible value to customers. Just as important, it means understanding that individual customers value mobile data based on their own interests and the way they use their services. Traditional mobile data plans can’t deliver success on these terms. Operators need new and compelling plans that can reinforce the value of mobile data and better meet the unique needs of each customer.

The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series introduced six different ways for mobile operators to build highly personalized pricing options and showcase the value of mobile data. These innovations will help operators offer differentiated service levels and present more value-based options to subscribers and businesses. The six innovations are:

  1. Service level-based plans: Offer premium services that deliver a higher speed or QoS.
  2. Shared data plans: Let several users or devices connect to and share a common pool of mobile data.
  3. Application-based plans: For a monthly fee, allow users to consume data with selected applications without having the usage count against their monthly data plans.
  4. Third party pays plans: Offer toll-free access to specific content, with the content provider or another business paying for the data subscribers use to consume the content.
  5. Loyalty-based plans: Reward loyal customers with mobile data and partner with retailers to include mobile data in their loyalty plans.
  6. Capacity-based plans: Shift traffic to off peak, create services to consume off-peak capacity, and monetize peak data traffic.

Network Analytics Show the Rise of Mobile Phone Malware

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

It is a scene out of a Mission Impossible movie, only the threat is real. Two product managers and a VP sit down to discuss the latest product release, one that’s been under wraps for months. While the group thinks it is safely beyond the ears of its competition, unknowingly one of those present in the meeting has had malware installed on his Android phone. The malware activates the microphone on the smartphone, and the whole meeting is taped and sent to the competition.

This nightmare scenario is unfortunately not beyond the possible these days.

Kindsight, an Alcatel-Lucent suite of solutions, leverages network-based security analytics such as its 9900 Wireless Network Guardian to reveal the latest trends on security threats to fixed and mobile networks, and its Q2 2013 Kindsight Security Labs Malware Quarterly Report reveals that the number of mobile spyware applications discovered this quarter is on the rise, according to an Alcatel-Lucent blog post, Android phones playing “I spy” at home and at work..

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Capacity-Based Plans

In this seventh installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe (@rhcrowe) looks at capacity-based mobile data plans. With capacity-based plans, subscribers are encouraged to use the network when it has spare capacity or to pay a little bit more as the network nears its capacity. Mobile operators can use these plans to reduce network congestion, monetize peak-time data traffic, and better manage the investment required to address continually growing demand for data.

Congested networks and wasted capacity

Fast-rising mobile data traffic – driven by increasing consumption of real-time entertainment on the go – is putting a strain on mobile networks (see Figure 1 as an example). Mobile network operators are working hard to increase capacity so they can meet peak demand and keep subscribers satisfied. Adding capacity can help ensure that users don’t encounter a slow or unresponsive network during mobile data traffic peaks. But it’s an expensive solution that means even more capacity goes unused at off-peak times. Capacity-based plans are an excellent way to slow network growth requirements while monetizing available capacity.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Loyalty-Based Plans

In this sixth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe (@rhcrowe) examines loyalty-based mobile data plans. With loyalty-based plans, subscribers get rewards for keeping up active relationships with mobile network operators. Operators can use these plans as the basis for retaining subscribers, encouraging increased spending and data usage, or forming mutually profitable partnerships with retailers.

RAISE the bar

Airlines offer them. So do hotels, credit card companies and, yes, mobile network operators. “They” are loyalty programs that reward customers for making frequent purchases. Airlines, hotels and credit cards tend to stick to the script, offering free flights, nights and merchandise. Mobile network operators have no such script. Today, operators reward loyal customers with voice minutes, text messages, accessories, ringtones, discounted device upgrades or even dining, shopping, travel and spa services. As mobile network operators’ business models grow more data-centric, the creative use of mobile data will become essential to ensuring that their loyalty-based plans remain relevant.

How the Cloud is Making Datacenters Dynamic

By: Sunil Khandekar, CEO, Nuage Networks

The future of datacenters is virtual, automatic, cloud-based, instantaneous, and boundary-less. These might not be the words associated with datacenters today -- you're more likely to hear slow, cumbersome, and related words in the same breath -- but software is driving this revolution in networking.

It has been undergoing a massive shift to the cloud for years now, driven by enterprise motivations to consolidate, as well as to use computer resources more optimally and efficiently. While computing virtualization has driven this transformation, the network has fallen woefully behind. Imagine having 20 virtual machines (VMs) in a server: Tomorrow that number grows to 100, to 200 the day after, and so on.

As you realize the implications of this growth in the datacenter, it becomes clear that the traditional networking approach of connecting those VMs is mindboggling because it doesn't deliver the true promise of the cloud -- instant access to apps anytime, anywhere and with no disruptions.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Third Party Pays

In this fifth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe examines third party pays mobile data plans. With third party pays plans, application and content providers pay mobile network operators for the data that subscribers use in consuming their content.

Data on the house!

Have you ever enjoyed a great meal at a restaurant and then been told that it’s on the house? It’s a wonderful feeling! Third party pays mobile data plans bring that same feeling to the mobile experience. You consume mobile content and someone else — the content provider or another business — pays your mobile network operator for the data you used. It doesn’t count toward your monthly allocation.

Today’s business model favors application and content providers. They provide the content and consumers cover the mobile data bill through their data plans. So why would a content provider pay for mobile data? The reason is simple: If the provider’s content consumes a lot of data, mobile consumers may access it sparingly or not at all to save precious megabytes. This behavior may be even more pronounced toward the end of the month, as consumers approach data plan limits.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Third Party Pays

In this fifth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe examines third party pays mobile data plans. With third party pays plans, application and content providers pay mobile network operators for the data that subscribers use in consuming their content.

Data on the house!

Have you ever enjoyed a great meal at a restaurant and then been told that it’s on the house? It’s a wonderful feeling! Third party pays mobile data plans bring that same feeling to the mobile experience. You consume mobile content and someone else — the content provider or another business — pays your mobile network operator for the data you used. It doesn’t count toward your monthly allocation.

Today’s business model favors application and content providers. They provide the content and consumers cover the mobile data bill through their data plans. So why would a content provider pay for mobile data? The reason is simple: If the provider’s content consumes a lot of data, mobile consumers may access it sparingly or not at all to save precious megabytes. This behavior may be even more pronounced toward the end of the month, as consumers approach data plan limits.

WebRTC Event Highlights the New Era of Communications

By: Ed Elkin, Marketing Director, Advanced Communication Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent

Sure enough, upon arriving at the WebRTC Conference and Expo, it’s clear this is the same stretch of Cobb Parkway where I came every few weeks to the AT&T SDN Control Center – for 1993’s version of SDN.  Then as now, better enterprise communications were needed.  In 1993, the substance of the WebRTC’s conference was a dream, which now becomes 2013’s reality because of two decades’ investment in terrific devices, convenient broadband access and dynamic network cores. 

This was a hot conference, full of diverse views and ideas. At our live demo table, variation was the norm. Visitors spanned from numerous service providers (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Orange, NTT, etc.), to a variety of startups such as Dvisor Hypermedia who are applying gaming’s threaded media to communications, to industry notables such as Intel checking out WebRTC for consumer media units.  Not many enterprises were visibly present, which is a concern because WebRTC will boost their business process efficiency (internal and external) and they need to prepare for how it affects their competitiveness. 

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Application-Based Plans

In this fourth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe examines application-based data plans. These plans let mobile subscribers use specific applications without consuming their data allowance.

Removing the worry from mobile application use

How would you like to use your favorite mobile applications without having to worry about going over your data limit and paying overage fees? That’s the idea behind application-based data plans. You pay a monthly fee to use one or more specific applications as much as you want. The data consumed by these applications doesn’t count against your data plan. In some cases, your mobile network operator may decide to make selected applications available without impacting your data plan in exchange for a very nominal fee.

Two categories of applications are particularly well suited to application-based pricing. The first are data-hungry applications, like video and multimedia. Today, some consumers use these applications sparingly because they fear going over data limits and incurring overage charges. The second includes core applications that don’t consume much data, such as text-only e-mail or social networking. These applications may be used to introduce subscribers to the world of mobile data.

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