As operators and mobile virtual network operators deal with network capacity limitations and customers’ inexhaustible appetite for data, the ability to precisely track and take action based on usage is becoming ever more important.
Ellen Schwab, CEO of Telespree, said that the ability to control data usage is allowing a variety of new business models for wireless.
“We’re seeing all different kinds of models,” Schwab said. She added that Telespree’s customers are saying that they “need the ability to be able to control the data. [They] choose the business model, but [they] want to be able to control it.”
The company recently announced a new 3G/4G data monitoring product, which allows Telespree’s customers to have real-time data monitoring and enable various data products.
Telespree’s customers include retailers, wireless wholesalers, MVNOs and carriers such as Sprint Nextel’s wholesale partners, Best Buy, and prepaid provider Revol Wireless.
Schwab said that real-time data monitoring allows service providers to “slice and dice” their business solutions. In enterprise, that may mean pooling voice minutes and providing, say, an executive with greater data access than a typical employee. It could involve allowing customers to buy passes that extend for an hour, day, week, month or year with limitations on time or the amount of data they can use.
It also gives end users real-time accuracy in their usage to prevent bill shock, Schwab said.
Carriers may simply want to know data usage and inform users when they’ve reached their limits – or they may need to impose hard limits (as in prepaid) or throttling to protect overall network quality. It’s even more crucial to MVNOs, where overages can affect profitability.
“In the wholesale model, it’s very relevant to their margins,” said Schwab.
Carriers, she noted, offer data use information on a slightly delayed basis – perhaps on a 15-minute or 30-minute lag. Sometimes customers need to actively request data usage information. But with 4G speeds enabling large amounts of data to be used in just a little time, real-time monitoring is becoming more critical, she said.
“In some cases, it’s usually okay – in postpaid, but not in prepaid. The amount of extra leakage on 3G wouldn’t be that much. In 4G, 15 minutes can be a lot. Five minutes can be a lot,” Schwab said.