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Friday, May 21, 2010

NEW research report on Mobile data: Offload vs. Compression vs. Policy

Disruptive Analysis has published a short "thought leadership" paper on technologies for managing mobile broadband traffic.

While future deployments of LTE or HSPA+ will add more capacity for mobile operators, it is still critical to examine ways to reduce congestion on a shorter-term basis. And even with future 3G / 4G capacity additions, the hunger from new applications - especially those based around video or other rich media - will demand strong discipline for optimisation.

This is a complex area - there are many ways to control traffic, or minimise its impact on the most expensive parts of the cellular network. There are arguments for offload to WiFi or femtocells, compression in the core network, or numerous forms of innovation for policy management and charging.

This new research paper examines the roles of 10 technology-led approached to data traffic management. Some of them have been introduced in this blog before - offload has been discussed for over two years, and mobile policy management and traffic-shaping for over four years.

I started to discuss the huge diversity of approaches earlier this year - this thought-leadership paper expands on the analysis, based on dozens of extra meetings and interviews I have conducted over the past few months.


There is no easy answer - the best approach will depend on the existing customer base and its behaviour, the mix of smartphones and laptops on the network, the operator's spectrum and cell site holdings..... and its forecasts and beliefs about the future.

In many operators, there is also an organisational and management problem: there is often no single individual who "owns" the issue of data traffic, who can develop a holistic solution. Instead, there are often diverse individuals who pursue narrow goals, which can have unintended consequences elsewhere in the network - or impacts customer experience.

In almost no operator is there an individual with the job title of "Policy Manager".

Vodafone recently announced that 85% of its mobile data traffic comes from laptops - but it is seeing faster growth from smartphones now. This highlights the complexity of the decision space - which also affects decisions about spectrum purchase and timelines for LTE/HSPA adoption.

More details on the new Disruptive Analysis paper on Top 10 Technologies for Mobile Broadband Traffic Management are here.

As this is a shorter and more tactical document than full strategy reports, the price points are correspondingly lower, starting at just $350 + tax if appropriate.

Alternatively, please inquire about more customised workshops or consulting projects on this field - an area that Disruptive Analysis has tracked for longer than any other analyst firm.

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