Mobile operators are overwhelmed by data usage on their networks, but rightly fear that implementing restrictions could lead to widespread public dissent, or even worse, force users to suddenly stop using the oh-so-profitable mobile data services. Instead of beating bandwidth hogs with a stick, perhaps they can offer a carrot to get them to take it easy on the network.
I spent this week at the TM Forum conference being held in Orlando, Fla. The conference attracts mostly suit-wearing members of the service provider and back-end software community. The two main themes I found interesting at the event were the emphasis ontelecommunications firms making their way into the cloud and the myriad ways that service providers could use to get folks to limit their mobile broadband consumption, an issue that AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega highlighted yesterday.
We may hate the fact that we have 5GB limits on our data plans (although those are for laptop plans rather than for smartphones) in the U.S., but there are physics constraints in terms of the spectrum available and the backhaul networks that demand the use of some kind of limits (and network investment). But carriers have more tools now than ever to train users to think of mobile broadband as a scarce resource rather than a fat pipe for everything.
So instead of forbidding video across the network or applying caps, carriers like AT&T could implement tiers of data usage that offer fast service for VoIP, video and web surfing for up to a certain number of gigabytes. The high-end plan could offer 5GB per month, and after that point users could pay more to keep their traffic flowing along quickly or they could surf at best-effort rates.
~Check it out!!!