Monday, October 24, 2011

Infonetics: Shared Data Plans - an Opportunity with OSS Needs

A research paper by Infonetics (commissioned by Tekelec- see press release here) concludes that

"Shared data plans represent a prime opportunity for operators to reduce churn, drive device adoption, and generate more revenue than they have been able to from individual subscriptions—provided they are executed correctly"

Similar view was presented by Sandvine's CTO (here).

Infonetics presents "A few public announcements from major mobile operators":  
  • Orange Austria, France, Spain: Since Spring 2011, Orange has been offering two devices per data plan, bundling 600 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited BTZone WiFi access, and 2GB shared data across both devices—iPad and iPhone are named specifically as available devices; cost is £99/month at 16GB rate.
  • Vodafone Ireland offers shared mobile broadband for business users with a 5GB limit, shared across however many users is required, for a fee of €7.50 per connection per month, with each additional increment of 5GB being another €10.
  • Optus offers a plan connecting five users each on a 4GB shared plan, with 20GB of data pooled between those five users each month; in addition, if the subscriber has a mobile connected to a Business Mobile Advantage plan, she will be able to share even more data across the account.
  • Rogers Wireless offers various plans: 1GB + unlimited social networking to seven popular sites for $30/month; 4GB + unlimited social networking to seven popular sites for $50/month; options to add an additional 1GB for $15/month or to add voice.
Of course, this doesn't come for free (for the operator) - the OSS has to support this - "solutions such as policy, subscriber data management, charging, and Diameter routing. Flexible, real-time capabilities in the control plane are the key success factor to the successful implementation of these new service models"

Shira Levine, directing analyst, next gen OSS and policy, Infonetics says - "Shared data plans — whether across multiple devices for an individual or across multiple subscribers — demand that operators rethink their operational systems. Service providers cannot offer must-haves like parental controls, time-of-day management and application-based rules without advanced policies and subscriber intelligence".

In order to meet the performance challenges such complex system is facing - ".. the number of signaling transactions increases exponentially .. operators will turn to Diameter routing agents (DRAs) to better manage the onslaught of Diameter messages exchanged among network elements"

The paper "All in the Family: The New Requirements of Shared Data Plans" is available here.

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