Pipeline Publishing, Volume 5, Issue 5
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Performance Management?
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Assuring Revenue Generating IP-based Services in 3G Networks

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By Eileen Haggerty

It is hard to find anyone with a cell phone who uses it exclusively for phone calls today. Even the most basic phones are capable of sending text messages, taking photographs, or checking sports scores, stock prices, and news headlines. Unless you've been a site coordinator for Survivor since it started in 2000, you know that device manufacturers such as Blackberry, Nokia, Apple, LG, and others, as well as operating system providers such as Microsoft, are revolutionizing what we do with that "wireless phone." According to M:Metrics, 85% of iPhone users surf the web, 50% access social networking sites, and 30% watch mobile TV. Blackberry, a pioneer in sending e-mails wirelessly, is developing the "Thunder," and other handset manufacturers are introducing 3G smartphones to compete in the iPhone market.

There is little question that subscribers are drawn to these devices for their ease of use, but also because of the availability of advanced features. Some of these devices double as GPS systems, delivering maps and directions. In fact, the development of "mash-ups" is further expanding the use of these devices by enabling subscribers to overlay businesses of interest on top of that local map – e.g. real-estate open houses in a 5 mile radius, or Italian restaurants within a mile.

What does it take to ensure reliable and high-performance experiences for subscribers of mobile networks?


But users are impatient and subscribers are unforgiving – the very characteristics of a market defined by a well-founded fear of subscriber churn. The antidote operators strive to ensure a reliable and high-performance experience to maintain customer satisfaction that, in turn, retains subscribers. It seems that 3G networks are in broad development and rollout at just the right time to support these advanced services, but they are not free of troubles. Blackberry has suffered multi-hour disruptions in service in 2008 and trouble activating tens of thousands of the more than one million

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All these additional IP-services represent a significant opportunity for increased average revenue per user (ARPU). After Barack Obama's campaign chose to notify supporters of his Vice Presidential running mate selection via text messages to their mobile phones, one can easily envision the product managers for many of the global mobile operators working overtime to quickly brain storm other uses that campaigns, enterprises, and e-businesses can incorporate in their marketing strategies. After all, imagine the additional revenue this could represent.

new iPhone subscribers the first weekend they were released in July are but two recent examples of subscriber-affecting problems.

The complexity of these networks, the volume of traffic, the types of services in use, the interaction of multiple operators combine to make performance management a daunting challenge for many operators to overcome. Thus, the basic question becomes: What does it take to ensure reliable and high-performance experiences for subscribers of mobile networks?

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