Friday, September 30, 2011

Survey: "86% of providers plan to launch tiered pricing plans", but will Need New PCC

A new Heavy Reading survey, commissioned by Amdocs (following the Bridgewater acquisition) "Interviewed over 30 CSPs from Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific" shows "How CSPs think to monetize data services" and leads to understand how important is policy management - but, unfortunately, not the one most CSPs currently own (does it include current Bridgewater customers?)

Key findings are:
  • Over 90% of operators interviewed said that they are looking to create packages across LOBs, customer types or payment methods
  • Over 80% of interviewed operators said that their future plans include data plan shared between several devices (e.g. tablet, smartphone) and over 65% said their future plans include data plans shared between several family members
  • 33% of the respondents said it can be done but at a very high integration and deployment cost which will make the project unfeasible.
  • 86% of providers plan to launch tiered pricing plans
However, it seems that almost everyone is not ready yet and need to buy something new! -
  • 80 percent of respondents do not think their existing policy management systems, deployed to support network-related use cases (bandwidth management, fair usage, bill shock) can support more advanced use cases, such as data plans across multiple lines of business, payment methods and spend limits, and more;
  • 10 percent have tried to integrate charging and policy management systems and failed.
See - Amdocs press release - here; research summary - here; Light Reading story "Pure-Play Policy's Future Is Fading" - here.

DPI Announcements: Vedicis Adds OEM Policy Control S/W Platform

Vedicis targets the OEM market, in addtion to end-cusotmer solutions. The vendor announced "the release of its new Open Traffic Management Software platform. Built upon its DPI-PCEF solution [See "Vedicis' DPI Based PCEF" - here] this new platform is designed for vendors and telecom system integrators who intend to propose a full end-to-end Policy Control & Charging solution to Mobile and Fixed operators .. the Vedicis Open Traffic Management Software platform delivers advanced PCEF features with Applications/protocols/content and user control with bandwidth steering, and volume metering .. in a full software package aimed at deployment on Intel based systems (Blades or 2U servers) and ATCA hardware". 

See "Vedicis unveils its new software platform for end-to-end Policy Control & Charging solutions" - here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Optimization Deployments [93]: Afribone [Mali] Uses Blue Coat Cache to Reduce International Bandwidth

Blue Coat announced that "Afribone, the pioneer and leading provider of Internet access in Mali, has selected Blue Coat® CacheFlow® 5000 appliances to help manage its customers’ large and growing demand for international Internet content from outside Mali .. Last year Afribone noted a significant increase in its customers’ multimedia needs, as well as significant growth in traffic to Web 2.0 sites. The number of requests directed at video-sharing websites increased massively, and bandwidth demand started to outstrip the ISP’s capacities .. Afribone has obtained immediate and spectacular benefits since deploying CacheFlow appliances, including being able to more than double its client-side bandwidth without adding additional international bandwidth".

Recently, Blue Coat announced a significant performance boost to the CacheFlow 5000 as well several ISP wins (here), mainly in countries with limited or expensive international bandwidth costs.

See "Afribone Selects Blue Coat CacheFlow Appliances to Save on Expensive International Bandwidth and Provide High Quality Web Experience" - here.

DPI Deployments [92]: MTS Belarus Deploys DPI

According to a report in site MTS Belarus completed "the implementation of a DPI platform, which has already been successfully tested and put into commercial operation. This technology allows to distinguish different types of traffic (VoIP, torrent, HTTP-traffic, etc.) and set priorities for them, and even a separate tariff .. The company says that is all data traffic passes through the platform DPI .. In the long term may apply differentiated policies for various types of information: using the platform can allocate traffic is Skype, ICQ, certain sites (eg, VKontakte and classmates). Accordingly, we can offer competitive rates for access to these sites and applications"  (based on Google translation).

Sounds very similar to what KPN was planning to do before being hit by Net Neutrality. 

It seems that DPI is also used to offer a "Turbo Button" service removes connection speed and volume limits.
See "МТС может расширить линейку мобильных анлимов" - here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ipoque Launches a Real-Time Internet Statistics Site

For several years now, DPI and Optimization companies (e.g. Allot, Sandvine, Bytemobile) are publishing periodical statistics reports showing the composition of Internet traffic, based on data collection made in all or certain parts of the world.
ipoque decided to make this information available to the public on real-time basis. The company announced ".. the launch of its Internet Observatory – the Internet’s new spot for real-time Internet traffic statistics from all over the world .. with the Internet traffic mix always changing and new applications, particularly in the mobile space, constantly appearing in the market, it is time for something new: Internet Observatory traffic statistics are available live, 24 hours a day, with long-term views instead of just a snapshot"

See "ipoque Launches Internet Observatory" - here.

The project, sponsored by the European Commissions, was announced during the Broadband World Forum in Paris, shows information for Europe (at the time of my visit, on Wednesday). See below some charts.

[Update] Cache Market: PeerApp Closed a [$8M] Growth Equity Investment

Follow-up to the previous post on PeerApp's recent funding (here) - the company's filling to the SEC shows that the recent offering amounted to $8M.

See filling here.

DPI Wins: $4M Follow-on Deal for Procera

Procera adds another multi-million deal to those announced recently ($6M - here and 2*$2M - here).

The DPI vendor announced ".. a $4 million follow-on order from a major European fixed/mobile network operator that has chosen the PL10000 to provide 120Gbps policy enforcement for pure transit- and long-distance link management to effectively reduce costs and manage bandwidth allocation for bandwidth-hungry traffic. The follow-on order represents an acceleration of an initial deployment and a geographic increase that will expand the network across a large European country"

See "Procera Provides Network Intelligence for European Tier-1 Operator" - here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Optimization Announcements: Celtro User-Aware Mobile Backhaul Traffic Management

Celtro published a short document (with no other details on its web-site) about a new product - UniqServ.

The product is said to deliver "subscriber-aware traffic management designed specifically for the mobile backhaul ..UniqServ is based on a patented user-aware traffic management model for the mobile backhaul, in which each user is managed in a dedicated queue. UniqServ enables the backhaul to identify individual user flows and manage their backhaul priority according to flexible subscriber-centric policies. During congestion events, UniqServ prevents racing conditions among TCP flows and maximizes user bit-rate and QoE".

There is no information on integration with policy managers.

Celtro compares this to current DPI solutions - "An alternative solution is throttling subscriber bandwidth with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) at the mobile core network. However, DPI in the core is unaware of real-time traffic load in the backhaul, and throttling is based solely on general peak hour traffic patterns. Thus, with no real-time awareness of actual backhaul load and shared resources usage, DPI throttling may prevent congestion in some cases - but only at the price of reduced network utilization"

See document here.

Current Analysis: "Diameter Signaling Routers Needed to Solve Connectivity, Interoperability and Addressability Issues"

Jason Emery, Director Product Management, Tekelec discusses some of the current trends in Diameter signaling in a guest article at TMC.Net.

Jason quotes Joe McGarvey (pictured), principal analyst at Current Analysis “What’s missing from current networks is the ability to handle this coming onslaught of Diameter signaling activity. The current solutions available for operators involve configuring each Diameter-based component in the network with the ability to communicate with all other components. While this addresses immediate internal issues, such a mesh-based signaling model will not scale and is not applicable to issues outside of the network related to roaming. Diameter signaling routers – as well as gateways and load balancers – relieve Diameter-based components of connectivity requirements and essentially establishes a centralized facility in the network [that] becomes the single point in the network for solving connectivity, interoperability and addressability issues

In addition, the article discusses the reasoning behind locating the Diameter router in the core network, rather than the edge.

See "Diameter Routing: Core vs. Edge" - here and my list of current vendor offering - here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Research Finds that Mobile Users Want Better QoE!!

A new consumer research launched by YouGov and Acision finds that "By competing on service Quality of Experience (QoE), mobile operators have an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn and drive new revenue streams .. The research, which questioned UK consumers .. shows that 77% of users having encountered some form of quality of experience issue using services on mobile broadband .. While overall satisfaction may have risen slightly, operators still face challenges with regard to improving mobile broadband service delivery, with 54% of consumers having experienced slow speeds and 42% having had connection problems .. 77% of consumers who use VoIP on their mobile phone stated that they have encountered problems with the service .. 70% of video users have experienced problems"

"..70% of those questioned stated that they would like to be notified in real-time about network congestion, while another 71% wanted to be notified about large download sizes, which may impact their data usage"

See the press release - here.

Yankee Group: MNOs Should Give Customers Choices for VoIP

Yankee Group joins others (Analysys Mason, Frost & Sullivan, Juniper Research) by telling MNOs to join, rather than fight, OTT service providers (in this case for VoIP) - an approach that we now see being accepted by the operators (see recent post on Telecom Italia- here)

Jason Armitage (pictured), Senior Analyst, and Declan Lonergan, Research VP, Yankee Group cover the current status of VoIP use in mobile networks:

"Currently, several European mobile operators have blocked consumer VoIP calls on mobile phones. This means those operators’ smartphone users can only make Skype and other VoIP calls via Wi-Fi—when they are at home or near a Wi-Fi hotspot. In contrast, 3 (in the U.K. and Italy) offers consumer VoIP services—and specifically Skype phones—as a differentiator ..  Operators have also tried the tactic of launching their own services. .. but early indications show these services are struggling to match the takeup of consumer VoIP services. In Yankee Group’s recent user study, operator-owned VoIP services hardly show up, despite the high usage of VoIP among European respondents. Yankee Group believes it will be challenging for operators to differentiate their own VoIP services and achieve the scale reached by Skype, MSN and Google Talk".  
Their recommendation to MNOs is: "The long-term operator solution is to focus on careful pricing of all data plans and giving customers choices that are beneficial to them. This focus should take into account both bundled postpaid packages and prepaid services that are priced with total traffic voice and data considered. To position for the new market environment, Yankee Group recommends operators place data plans at the center of strategic decision-making, offer value-priced voice calling and increase the number of monthly prepaid plan offers that focus on data capabilities".

See "How to Handle the Mobile VoIP Explosion" - here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Current Analysis Assessment of Tekelec's Policy Manager

Tekelec published Current Analysis' assessment of its (ex-Camiant) policy management product - Tekelec Policy Server (here).

Naturally this is a good report, and according to Joe McGarvey (pictured), Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure: "The Tekelec Policy Server is very threatening in the policy control segment of the telecommunications industry. .. is at or near the top of the competitive landscape in multiple buying criteria, including performance, deployments (both quantity and industry profile), features, and flexibility, as well as interoperability with third-party policy and charging ecosystem components".

"The Tekelec Policy Server is deployed in over 50 networks, including several
prominent mobile operators, such as Vodafone [with Allot's DPI - here], Telefonica [here], and Verizon Wireless’ [here] groundbreaking LTE network"

As can be seen in my PCRF-DPI compatibility matrix (here), Tekelec is one of the two (and first) PCRF vendors to reach interoperability with all major DPI vendors. According to Joe Tekelec's product "Interoperability Partners for DPI and Charging (deployed in the fi eld and through lab IOT): "Allot, Bytemobile, Cisco, Comverse, F5, Flash Networks, Openwave, Procera, and Sandvine. Policy Server also interoperates with more than 20 other products in the following categories: CSCF, SBC, IMS HSS, video on demand, and access gateways".

Optimization Deployments [91]: SkyVision Uses DiViNetworks for International Traffic

DiViNetworks (covered here) announced that "SkyVision .. has chosen DiViNetworks .. to optimize IP transport between its international European backbone and the African points-of-presence (PoPs)".

Golan Madar, VP Operations at SkyVision, said: “DiViNetworks provides the highest optimization ratios, and the simplest deployment. We are positive that the innovation will greatly improve our Nigerian end-customers’ speed of connectivity and user-experience as a whole"

See "SkyVision deploys DiViLink to boost its IP connectivity to West Africa" - here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

YouTube: Mobile Generates 10% of Download Traffic; Working on Optimization

Jason Ankeny reports to Fierce Mobile Content on YouTube director of global platform partnerships Francisco Varela (pictured) presentation during Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2011 event:

Mobile device users are now responsible for 10 percent of all downloads from Google's YouTube video platform .. mobile subscribers are also creating a significant chunk of video content, uploading more than two hours of new YouTube clips from their devices every minute. YouTube is working to optimize video consumption across mobile networks, for example offering multiple default quality options depending on the supporting infrastructure
See "Google: Mobile devices generate 10% of all YouTube video downloads" - here

See also- "Allot Reports 93% Growth in Mobile Video Streaming; YouTube Leads" - here and "YouTube [or Google] - Net Neutrality? Not Here .." - here.

FCC's Net Neutrality Rules Made Official; Start on Nov. 20

The FCC's Net Neutrality Rules (or "Preserving the Open Internet") were published in the US Federal Register on Friday. This makes the rules official, and sets an "Effective Date: These rules are effective November 20, 2011".

See the document - here and its summary below.

According to the US press, the final word hasn't been said yet. Reuters reports that "Now that the rules are official, a slew of lawsuits are expected. ISPs have argued that the FCC has limited jurisdiction over cyberspace and that the marketplace alone should determine fee schedules. Verizon is expected to mount a court challenge, and Congressional Republicans have pledged to overturn the rules". ("FCC Makes Its Net Neutrality Rules Official" - here).
Note that Verizon Wireless recently published its "Network Optimization" policy (here), which seems to be addressing these rules very well - including the part of reasonable network management, as they will limit traffic on congested cells only.

"SUMMARY: This Report and Order establishes protections for broadband service to preserve and reinforce Internet freedom and openness. The Commission adopts three basic protections that are grounded in broadly accepted Internet norms, as well as our own prior decisions. First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services. Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful Web sites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services. Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic. These rules, applied with the complementary principle of reasonable network management, ensure that the freedom and openness that have enabled the Internet to flourish as an engine for creativity and commerce will continue. This framework thus provides greater certainty and predictability to consumers, innovators, investors, and broadband providers, as well as the flexibility providers need to effectively manage their networks. The framework promotes a virtuous circle of innovation and investment in which new uses of the network—including new content, applications, services, and devices— lead to increased end-user demand for broadband, which drives network improvements that in turn lead to further innovative network uses"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Telecom Italia: QoE and OTT Partnership Needed for Mobile Revenue Growth

A year ago Telecom Italia's CEO said (referring to OTT content providers) -  "The mismatch between investments and revenue is set to compromise the economic sustainability of the current business model for telecom companies" (here).
Back then, this approach was not unique to TI - we heard similar things from DT (here) and FT (here). However, consulting and research firms (e.g. - Analysys Mason - here; ABI - hereYankee - here) recommended the "if you can't beat then, so join them" approach, and indeed we heard different statements and actions -DT (here) and FT (here) changed their position, and now, TI also presents a different view.
Mobile World L!ive reports from Huawei Global  Mobile Broadband Forum 2011 - on Michele Gamberini (pictured), director of Wireless Networks at Telecom Italia presentation:

"..there is demand for reliable, speedy and excellent quality services from smartphone and mobile broadband users .. we in Telecom Italia believe that quality of experience will play a key role in getting more out of mobile broadband .. Delivering a high-quality service to customers will also be one of the key tools in enabling operators to generate revenue when offering content from over-the-top providers (such as YouTube), an issue which has previously been widely discussed by operators .. we have to recognise the traction they create in the market.. [the solution is to] combine our innovation with their services .. We have to provide the whole quality of experience"
See "TI sees network quality as crucial to mobile broadband success" - here.

[Infonetics]: Policy Management Market to Reach $624M in 2011

In an update to its 2011, Shira Levine (picture), Directing Analyst, Next Gen OSS and Policy, forecasts that Policy Management* Solutions Market will grow by 49% in 2011.

The first edition of the report (here) said that "Policy management revenue grew 48% in 2010 to $418.7 million worldwide, with the majority of spending occurring in the wireless market ..policy management market to nearly quadruple from 2010 to 2015, to $1.6B"

Based on Tweet by Infonetics, Sep 22nd - "New Infonetics report: Policy Management Solutions Market to Grow 49% in 2011. Login for report or info -  "

*Policy management: a software platform for applying business rules that determine which customers and/or applications receive bandwidth priority and when, by understanding and defining QoS conditions for applications, such as mobile broadband, HSI, VoIP, and IPTV; has a real-time understanding of network resource utilization; includes policy servers that adhere to ETSI TISPAN and PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) standards and are deployed in fixed line broadband, wireless, and cable broadband networks; includes only standalone broadband policy management platforms; does not include policy enforcement capabilities of DSLAMs, CMTS, PON OLTs, deep packet inspection platforms, and edge routing equipment

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DPI Technology - Make or Buy?

An industry survey, conducted by Heavy Reading, concludes that "while some vendors still want to keep DPI expertise in-house .. there are very strong, counter trends and tendencies that are likely to push more vendors to outsource key DPI capabilities to emerging suppliers in the new DPI ecosystem". Reasons are shown in the chart below.

The survey, conducted among 258 individuals from 122 telecom hardware and software vendors of which 60% say they use embedded DPI s/w, finds that:
  • 66% say that DPI is a "must have" technology
  • 64% use internally developed  DPI while 36% license the DPI s/w

The full report, commissioned by Qosmos, with lots of additional statistics is available here.

Flash Networks LTE Tests: 40% Load Reduction, 40-60% Acceleration

According to Flash Networks, while LTE networks provide high bandwidth, there is still room for improvement. The optimization vendor announced that "test results from its deployment on a live 4G wireless network, in which Flash Networks’ Harmony Web & Media Optimization enabled subscribers to download and view video, web pages, and files faster with fewer service interruptions .. At this deployment, the time to load web pages on mobile devices was cut in half, and download speeds of files and videos to mobile devices was boosted by 40-60%. In addition, Harmony optimization reduced the data load on the network from video and web traffic by 40% and reduced stalls while viewing video by 80%".
See "Flash Networks First to Accelerate 4G Networks" - here. See also "Survey: Mobile Networks are Near Full Capacity" - here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cache Market: PeerApp Closed a Growth Equity Investment

PeerApp announced that ".. it has closed a growth equity investment led by Summit Partners. Also participating in the round are Cedar Fund, Evergreen Partners, Pilot House Ventures Group and existing investors in PeerApp. The funds will be used to accelerate PeerApp’s commercial efforts and support the company’s continuing global expansion".

Tom Jennings (pictured), a Managing Director at Summit Partners has joined the PeerApp Board of Directors.

See "Summit Partners Leads Growth Equity Funding of PeerApp, Ltd" - here.

QoS Announcements: NSN Adds Intelligent Broadband Management

Nokia Siemens Networks announced it has "launched Liquid Net, a new way to deliver broadband. Liquid Net allows an operator to set up its network to self-adapt to meet capacity and coverage requirements based on demand .. Liquid Net encompasses radio access, the core network and transport ; Liquid Core enables the core network (circuit-switched, packet-switched and IP Multimedia Subsystem functions) to deliver services and content, and dynamically provide the capacity needed to ensure the best customer experience at the lowest cost. This is achieved through core virtualization and intelligent broadband management".

"Based on Nokia Siemens Networks Policy Control Server (PCS), Nokia Siemens Networks Browsing Gateway (NBG), Flexi NG as well as integrated Content Delivery Network (CDN) capability, Intelligent Broadband Management offers integrated policy controlled end-to-end QoS, content adaptation and optimization, and distributed content delivery capability. It brings fully automated, self-adapting broadband optimization with best customer experience, providing the best insight engine with GGSN integrated DPI, Trendica, Traffica and radio congestion awareness" (more - here)

See "Nokia Siemens Networks taps into future of broadband with Liquid Net" - here and "Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow" - here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DPI/Cache Wins: Allot Deployed by LTE MNO as "Fixed Alternative"

Allot Communications announced the "the deployment of its Allot Service Gateway solution, in a major European operator’s 4G rollout, which will enable the operator’s vision of providing a fixed network alternative. The LTE rollout incorporates network intelligence built-in from the ground up as an integral part of the LTE architecture. This will enable optimized delivery of data at rates up to 100Mbps and the implementation of value-based charging and innovative service plans .. Allot’s 3GPP compliant solution accurately identifies OTT (over-the-top) application traffic in real time at speeds of up to 160 Gbps per platform. This provides subscriber, application and network intelligence previously unavailable to policy and charging systems.  With granular usage information, operators can better monetize network traffic in ways that reflect its true value for both the operator and the subscriber.  Services enabled through the Allot solution include premium video-caching and optimization, as well as tailored packages, where particular application traffic is zero-rated against the subscriber’s data cap. ".

See "Allot Service Gateway Deployed in Tier 1 European LTE Rollout - Mobile operator supporting over 30 million subscribers expands deployment from 3G to 4G" - here.

Also today, Mobile World l!ve reports that Tom Witzschel, regional director for Vodafone Germany, said that "the company is set to double the number of LTE base stations it has in operation in the coming months, increasing the total from the current 1,000 .. In addition to selling a home router and dongles to provide access to LTE data services, the company is also offering a home box which supports voice telephony - We have a chance in the rural areas to replace the fixed network, and this is very interesting to us ..  100TB of data is crossing the operator’s LTE infrastructure each week, which was described as “very huge numbers for the start of a network”. See also - "Vodafone Uses DPI and Policy Management to Improve QoE (and the vendors are..)" - here.

On June 30, 2011 Vodafone Germany had 36M mobile subscribers. of which 27,000 were LTE customers (here).

See "Vodafone set for German LTE network boost" - here.

Intel Demos DPI Enabling Technology

Intel addresses DPI developers. A post by Paul Stevens (pictures), Telecom Sector Marketing Director for Advantech, on Advantech NTG blog about the recent Intel Developer Forum, says:

"One key topic for discussion related to the latest innovations in processing and software technologies that are now being utilized to great effect in Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) applications. DPI is at the core of many new and emerging applications where multicore Intel processors offer a distinct advantage over their single core siblings. They maintain all the benefits of IA technology, including ease-of-programming, timely tick-tock refresh cycles and dependability. When coupled with optimized packet processing software, our Intel-based solutions enable the creation of a more scalable range of services at significantly higher bandwidths. At IDF we were able to demonstrate the improvements generated when you combine network acceleration and optimized packet processing software with Advantech’s Intel platform enhancements. Along with our software partners we’ll showed off a number of examples of the performance gains observed across a whole range of multi-core systems".

See "Intel Developer’s Forum 2011" - here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Verizon Explains its "Network Optimization" Policy

Verizon published a web page (here) explaining what it calls "Network Optimization" (to be implemented this month), or what we usually call - "data caps" (2GB in VZW case), "penalty" and "traffic shaping".

The most interesting part is that it will effect only users "connected to a congested cell site" - which is not so easy to detect, as you can see below.

See also "Verizon Plans to Increase ARPU with Tiered Pricing (Speed, Volume)" - here.

So the policy is:  ".. To optimize our network, we manage data connection speeds for a small subset of customers – the top 5% of data users with 3G devices on unlimited data plans – and only in places and at times of 3G network congestion. This ensures that all customers have the best data experience possible .. The highest data users, the top 5% with 3G devices on unlimited data plans, may experience managed data speeds when connected to a congested 3G cell site after reaching certain data-usage levels in a bill cycle. High data users will feel the smallest possible impact and only experience reduced data speeds when necessary for us to optimize data network traffic in that area"
".. There are many variables that can contribute to a cell site being congested including, but not limited to, the number of active users and the type of applications being used on that site.  While we work to ensure we have the most reliable network for every location, these variables combined with other environmental factors determine whether or not a particular cell site reaches the limits of its capacity and becomes congested at any particular time"
In addition, Verizon:
  • Controls tethering ("Tethering requires you to have a usage-based data plan specifically for tethering".

    See "Verizon's UBB Starts July 7; Tethering Surcharge: $20"- here.
  • Deploys data and video optimization technologies ("Verizon Wireless is implementing optimization and transcoding technologies in its network to transmit data files in a more efficient manner to allow available network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users, and although unlikely, the process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on the mobile device").

    See "Verizon Wireless Optimizes Web & Video using Transcoding, Caching and Buffer Tuning - here. 

[Guest post]: AT&T and T-Mobile Merger – Good or Bad?

By Laura Backes*, DSL Service Providers

No one really saw it coming… it was supposed to go off without a hitch. However the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile hit a huge snag when the Department of Justice turned around and filed suit proclaiming that the merger would dramatically lessen the competition in the mobile industry. But what does it mean, really, for what is arguably the most important factor in this whole acquisition – the consumer - if the two companies are permitted to unite? As with everything major like this, there are a lot of hot-headed opinions floating around supporting both side of the merger, making valid points in favor of and against the subscriber.


1.      Expanded coverage for AT&T users: AT&T is notorious for dropped calls, to an annoying degree. The merger with T-Mobile would expand coverage and provide a more solid foundation so that this would be less of an issue
2.      Increased and faster service: Both AT&T and T-Mobile users would like see an improvement in service. Considering AT&T is too bogged down right now to accumulate their users and a merge with T-Mobile would give them some breathing room. As for T-Mobile users, the union with AT&T should alleviate the in-home service issue and decrease roaming issues
3.      Rollover Minutes: At the moment, T-Mobile users suffer from the “use it or lose it” plan, meaning that if they don’t use up their monthly minutes they are unable to utilize them the next month. AT&T, on the other hand, allows you minutes to roll over for 12 months. The merger will allow for the elimination of wasting unused minutes, which is a definite benefit for T-Mobile users.
1.      Fewer Choices: With T-Mobile being absorbed by AT&T, consumer’s choices will end up being limited. Thus far, T-Mobile has been on the up and up with innovation and experimentation in the marketplace. But a merger with AT&T will likely limit this
2.      Job Reduction: With any big merger there will always be a need to “trim the fat” so to speak. Because two companies will downsize (or upgrade, however you want to look at it) into one, there will be an inevitable overlap of jobs, meaning that someone’s gotta go!

3.      Price increases: AT&T is more expensive than T-Mobile, plain and simple. It’s unlikely that prices will go down after the two companies blend together… and for T-Mobile subscribers this means a price increase.
So will the consumers be better off or worse off if the merger manages to push through? Right now, it looks as though AT&T customers will come out the breadwinners and T-Mobile customers will be the ones to suffer. For now, all we can do is wait to see how the suit plays out and hope that everyone will benefit from the outcome.


*Laura Backes has been writing for DSL Service Providers since April of 2010 and has really enjoyed getting to know more about Internet service providers and the various roles that ISP’s play in the lives of the average person.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Arbor: Badly Designed Firewalls Creates A DDoS Risk to MNOs

In an interview to ZDNet, Roland Dobbins, Arbor Networks Asia Pacific solutions architect, told Josh Taylor that "Mobile telcos that became "accidental" internet service providers (ISPs) through the rise of mobile broadband are more at risk of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks than fixed broadband providers .. the TCP/IP side of mobile networks was mostly an afterthought for mobile telcos who found they'd become ISPs after the rise of smartphones such as the iPhone. He said that in order to keep the network secure, a lot of telcos put "stateful" firewalls or devices on their networks. This creates a potential DDoS point of attack allowing a bot to clog up the state table of a firewall and cause it to fall over".

See "DDoS risk plagues accidental ISPs" - here.

CRTC to Rogers: Fix your DPI System!

6 months ago, Rogers admitted that its "traffic management equipment that can interfere with World of Warcraft .. We have determined that the problem occurs only when our customers are simultaneously using peer-to-peer file sharing applications and running the game"  - see "Rogers [Canada] Admits its P2P Traffic Management Impacts Interactive Gaming" - here.
Now, the CRTC has instructed Rogers to fix the problem. In a letter that was sent on Friday to Rogers,  (here, from, John Traversy, Executive Director, Telecommunications says: "Commission staff notes that in its report entitled World of Warcraft Testing, dated 25 July 2011, Rogers indicated that it had implemented a “whitelisting” solution to resolve issues related to misclassification of this specific game. Based on information provided by Rogers’ 2 September 2011 letter, as noted above, Commission staff considers that Rogers’ ITMPs could potentially continue to misclassify time-sensitive traffic such as other online games and therefore this could be affecting those games. Commission staff considers that Rogers should address and resolve this misclassification problem As a result, Commission staff requests that Rogers file a plan for resolving the possibility of misclassification of other interactive game traffic, by 27 September 2011, that includes specific steps and timelines for each step". 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

[Analysys Mason]: MNOs Need a New Approach to Compete with OTT VoIP

Voice is still the major revenue source for MNOs (see chart below), but the threat from Over-the-top VoIP services grows, with the penetration of smartphones, open Internet access and standard operating systems.
A new research by Stephen Sale (pictured), Principal Analyst, and Tom Rebbeck, Research Director, Analysys Mason finds that "Over-the-top mobile VoIP applications such as Google Voice, Skype and Viber are gaining traction among smartphone users. .. The interest in over-the-top services is symptomatic of how mobile devices are changing. Previously under the rigid control of mobile operators, handsets are opening up to new players and to new forms of customer usage .. Operator responses have been muddled so far. Short-term measures, such as blocking or charging a premium for third-party VoIP services, fail to address the issue in a sustainable manner"

See Analysys Mason's "scenario-based approach to help players engage with longer-term market developments and to frame their own response" -  "Over-the-top providers could capture as much as 16% of mobile voice revenue in the next five years" - here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Monday's Guest Post: AT&T and T-Mobile Merger – Good or Bad?

A new guest post will be published on Monday. In her article, "AT&T and T-Mobile Merger – Good or Bad?", my 8th guest, Laura Backes, will discuss the pros and cons of the troubled merger between AT&T and T-Mobile: If the merger goes through will it mean an increase in the quality of service for T-Mobile users or a decrease? 
Stay tuned.
If you like to propose a guest post, please send me a proposed subject, abstract and the author details.

[Juniper Research]: MNOs Need to Spend $840B By 2016 on Backhaul

A new reprot by Nitin Bhas (pictured), Research Analyst, Juniper Research, concludes that "mobile network operators must increase capacity and intelligently optimise their backhaul networks over the next five years if they are to meet the increasing demands of mobile broadband users. According to the new mobile research report, operators need to spend almost $840 billion globally over the next five years in order to address serious bottlenecks in their backhaul networks .. The report found that microwave and fibre will dominate the backhaul market with microwave accounting for over 60% of the global mobile backhaul capacity by 2016".

Obviously, smarter solutions - Network intelligence, optimization, caching and subscriber and application aware QoS policies enforcement should be considered before adding more bandwidth, as they usually present a better ROI.

See " Mobile Network Upgrades of up to $840bn Required Over Next Five Years to Meet Burgeoning Data Demand, Finds Juniper Research" - here.