We all know that mobile data growth has gone through the roof and is headed into the stratosphere. But what’s a wireless network operator to do? Why, change its pricing and packaging strategy, of course. That’s already starting to happen as many mobile service providers move away from all-you-can-eat data offers and toward packages that consider bandwidth usage. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
And tools and technologies are now available to enable carriers to deliver service packages that are more closely targeted to the needs of their users – and more closely aligned with their own business aspirations and network resources.
For example, a company called TheNowFactory offers active subscriber intelligence solutions that allow service providers to see which customers are using what applications when and with what endpoints.
The company, which is exhibiting at Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, offers probes that collect traffic information from mobile networks. But its special sauce is in its software applications, which give marketing; network planning and operations; and customer care folks at the operators new insight into subscriber behaviors and related traffic trends, explains Oliver Finn, marketing director.
These applications number six in all and are broken down into the three above-mentioned carrier employee interest groups. They present information in clean, multi-faceted formats – including pie charts, bar charts, matrixes, etc. That can help marketing get a better handle on who’s doing what on the network so the department can more effectively customize packages for particular user groups. It can help engineers more effectively do network and capacity planning, including network investment prioritization (to ensure carrier capex is weighted most heavily to serve the highest margin customers and services). And it can provide customer care representatives with the plain language information they need about the network and subscriptions to assist customers that call in for help.
Another company working to assist mobile network operators in better understanding subscriber usage – and enabling them to act on it – is Tango Telecom. The company sells a data charging and policy solution, which it recently began marketing more heavily in the U.S.
Rory O’Toole, vice president of global sales, says the Tango solution leverages deep packet inspection technology to see what’s happening on the network. That information is used to enable service providers to enforce network resource rules on a per-subscriber basis and to do related pre- and post-paid charging.
He explains that’s because Tango delivers PCRF (policy management) and PCEF (DPI) functionality in a single, one-rack solution, while others require a multi-vendor mix to do the same thing. For the mobile operator, he adds, a single solution from a single supplier means it’s less expensive to support. The offer is low on the capex front as well, he says.
Edited by Jennifer Russell