Tech therapy for smartphone-stressed mobile operators

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Tech therapy for smartphone-stressed mobile operators

Post by tammy on Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:50 am

It is not an easy time for mobile operators -- smartphones have touched off a data traffic explosion without revenues to match, but a little tech-therapy is at hand.

At the mobile phone industry's annual get-together in Barcelona this week dozens of companies were offering technical fixes to help mobile operators ride the data wave instead of being drowned in a traffic tsunami.

The challenge mobile operators face is formidable.

Sales of smartphones have rocketed over the past few years with nearly half a billion of them now out there, and with each generating up to 24 times as much data traffic as a regular mobile phone the volume of network traffic has exploded.

The network firm Cisco is forecasting it to grow 26-fold by 2015.

Yet operators have had trouble making much money out of data, with many initially offering "all-you-can-eat" plans for a fixed price to encourage take up of the service.

The costs for mobile operators to expand their networks to keep up with data traffic growth through 2014 are estimated at 86 billion euros ($116 billion) by A.T. Kearney consulting firm and, at current trends, they will end up 21 billion euros short.

Content providers currently pay little to support the networks, but having them share more of the burden has become embroiled in the politically-sensitive "net neutrality" debate.

So mobile operators have only the option of "turning to the end user" to find the needed resources, according to Jean-Sebastien Grail, an analyst and Booz&Co consultancy.

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