By Rajeev Tankha, Sr. Director Solutions Marketing at Oracle Communications
The fast pace of growth in the mobile devices market has seen consumers get closer than ever to their smartphones and tablets. A recent Gartner study suggested that tablet sales will increase by 70 per cent in the next year, and that over 2 billion smartphones will be in use globally by 2017.
These trends have placed more pressure than ever on Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to adopt full data networks to ensure the reliability and cost-effectiveness of their services as they look to support consumers’ new digital lifestyles.
With the 4G LTE boom now in full-swing, operators must make sure they can handle the performance and scalability requirements that the adoption of this technology will place on their networks. In addition, to help customers make the most of their connected technologies CSPs will need to adopt convergent charging solutions and intelligent billing platforms that allow them to charge for services more effectively and enable users to manage and personalise their policies on one simple interface using any of their connected devices.
A widening Diameter
As they adapt their business models to meet an evolving market’s bandwidth and data management challenges, CSPs are making the move towards adopting all-IP LTE networks. To make the most of these networks and give customers the requisite flexibility and control over their policies, operators will rely on advanced Diameter signaling protocols.
Diameter messages carry a wide range of essential mobile subscriber data, including billing information and network policy data, among others. With Diameter routing capabilities, Operators will be able to direct these messages effectively and provide customers with the high level of network reliability they have come to expect.
This technology represents the future for service providers, with EMEA now the fastest growing market for Diameter solutions. In fact, regional traffic has grown by well over 200 per cent in the past year according to the Oracle Communications LTE Diameter Signaling Index. With the pace of Diameter growth set to overtake that of data traffic, cost-conscious CSPs will prioritise investment in this space to shore up the foundations of their networks and support evolving subscriber usage habits
In addition, the rise of connected devices has seen consumers take to streaming video and engage in online gaming from Over-The-Top (OTT) developers. In response, CSP policy rules that were traditionally geared at managing subscriber usage allowances will evolve to become additional sources of revenue.
With the added level of network control they gain with Diameter technology, operators will become the gatekeepers to reliable OTT service, and can therefore find new ways monetise this position as subscriber enthusiasm for these applications continues to grow.
A unified solution
With consumers now demanding tailor-made products that align with their unique digital lifestyles, CSPs will also require a simple means to support their consumption of voice, data, and multimedia services. By allowing operators to consolidate all of these services on one platform, convergent charging and policy solutions make it easy for them to create offers that are tailored to their customers. With these in place CSPs can give subscribers the freedom to personalise their policies, moderate their usage, and manage connections within their mobile social circles – at any time and on any of their connected devices.
This approach to the convergence of IT, telecoms, and media will also help operators reduce their operating costs; running an online convergent platform that offers real-time charging requires smaller on-going investment across business, IT and network teams.
Simplifying their infrastructure in this way will equip CSPs to handle increasingly complex business and network policies while making sure they minimise their exposure to revenue leakage.