Emergence of mobile data offloading
Though mobile data offloading is not new to the industry it is catching steam off late and that has made operators around the world take notice. The factors that are driving mobile data offloading is the ever growing smart phone market giving people the option of streaming any content of the internet right on to the palm of their hands.
Surprisingly it is not “work on the move” that is making a large percentage of the populace download content through their smart phones extensively but the driving factor happens to be streaming of video content from sites such as YouTube that ranks at the top of data usage .
Key industries can’t afford to ignore the trend especially when recent industry research predicts that nearly 50-60% of the data would be offloaded by the year 2017 by either WiFi, WiMax or Small cells with WiFi being a major player over the latter two.
Why offload with begin with?
At a time when cellular operator costs are going up due to investments in 3G and 4G network evolution, WiFi still ranks at the top for data offloading primarily due to 3G/4G pricing, poor signal reception indoors and WiFi’s higher bandwidths offerings with little or no interference.
The three factors put together are the leading cause for smart phone / tablet data usage being offloaded to a WiFi network.
A simple iPad sales figures of 2012 provides a interesting insight into the fact that 9 out of 10 iPads are only WiFi show casing a interesting find that cellular data services has been given a miss at the highly sought iPad retail market itself
“A little known fact is that contrary to popular belief a smart phone / tablet also uses lesser battery when connected to a WiFi network accounted due to the lower signal strength requirement.”
Apart from the end users who get excellent bandwidth, speed and zero interference reception; the businesses which provide broadband services to end users cash in by filling in the gaps between the cell towers, literally.
A few OPCOs in the wireless business who also double up by providing broadband services in the form of ADSL or FOC loop back their users into their network business.
How can RA help?
Analytics, analytics, analytics!!!
“The true potential of analytics is only limited by ones own imagination of what can be done with an array of data at your disposal”
Here RA’s primary role comes in as a revenue enhancer or opportunity loss identifier and not as the more commonly known roles of “leakage identification”.
From an RA perspective looping in key information of users such as the data usage pattern over cellular and WiFi and overlaying them over various dimensions of demographics, content, customer categorization and lifestyle components will provide an insight on potential cellular onload or offload opportunities which can be monetized by provision value add or add on services to potential users.
From an operators perspective this insight can increase revenues especially in regions where a good smart phone markets show below par cellular data usage therein operators can increasing their service offerings to targeted localities and users in the form small cells, WiFi, or WiMax.
Srikanth is a Senior Consultant in Subex’s Business & Solutions Consulting vertical, focusing on Emerging Markets. He has over 9+ years of experience in consulting and advisory in the telecom industry with key focus on Revenue & Cost Assurance, Information Security, Governance Risk and Compliance. His client portfolio includes Aircel, MTNL, Tata Communications, Videocon, DST and PGi in APAC; STC, MTN, BTC in EMEA; Verizon, XO, Fairpoint and AT&T in NA.