Monday, July 26, 2010

Why Do Mobile Carriers Need Device Awareness?

Procera's VP of Product Management, Cam Cullen, posted a good review on device awareness - the needs, benefits and means to detect the subscriber's device type in real time.

See "Device Awareness: The Key to Service Planning" - here

Cam lists the ways in which the device type could be detected. Beyond the ability "to include this information in the BSS/OSS for each user account" - other methods require DPI capabilities.

However, one can wonder why a DPI system is needed if the information could be simply provisioned?

The answer is that mobile internet subscribers may use the SIM provisioned for a certain device with a different device they own. I believe that this is the main reason for the need to detect the device type, and DPI could certainly help here. Verifying the device type will allow the operators to offer device-dependant service plans, without fear of abuse (such as using a 3G/smartphone SIM in a laptop). I've seen this as the main reason in a number of RFPs - but unfortunately haven’t seen a reliable solution yet.

Similarly, some operators do not allow tethering (using a phone as a modem - see "AT&T - No More Unlimited Mobile Data" - here).

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