From Gatekeeper to Gold: Leveraging Policy 2.0

Leveraging policy management is the only way for CSPs to compete and remain relevant in the new digital services economy.
Innovative new use cases include:
  • Day passes for trialing new services
  • Dynamic shared data plans
  • Advanced loyalty programs
  • App-based charging plans (email or VoIP is zero-rated, for instance, while other services are tariffed on a real-time, scalable basis)
  • Toll-free mobile data, subsidized by content providers, enterprise or advertising
  • Cooperative agreements with OTT players for guaranteed quality-of-service (QoS)
  • Advanced security policies based on user biometric data
We've already seen a number of these cases come to life. Belgian operator Mobistar offers its subscribers zero-rated Facebook, Twitter and Netlog. AT&T's CEO has said publicly that toll-free data plans are coming to AT&T by the end of 2012. Comcast now offers Skype HD video conferencing. And most recently, Verizon transformed its subscription plans to toll-free calling and texting plus shared data.

Beyond traditional wireless models, these new use cases extend to two other burgeoning areas of growth: M2M and Cloud. CSPs can create and enforce policies in M2M that ensure data from smart meters is transmitted periodically and at off-peak times. Combine that with location-aware policies, and operators can add a level of security to their M2M devices with policy. Thieves in South Africa recently pilfered smart traffic lights for their SIM cards in order to make free calls; a location-based policy could detect the removal and movement of the SIM cards and immediately disable their use.

In the cloud, data backup from the multitude of devices using cloud services should occur when network strain is at its lowest. However, this requires a dynamic policy to match ever-changing traffic dynamics. Imagine all of the mobile devices on a network uploading exabytes of data to the Cloud during an evening World Cup match ... not so smart. Beyond this scenario, various device-, subscriber-, and service-aware policies can be built around Cloud services that best utilize and monetize network assets. The unique business ecosystem created by the Cloud also enables operators to expose and monetize Cloud-based policies to OTT partners (which are often Cloud based).

Even more interesting is the way MVNOs, MVNEs, and Cloud-based service providers are extracting value from policy at their unique intersection between operator and OTT provider. Kishen Mangat said, “These 'new' types of providers are finding success delivering applications and services to the subscriber with greater levels of personalization and context, leveraging enterprise API’s that extend all the way into the operator network for real-time network, QoS, and charging control.”  Dynamic policy management capabilities will become increasingly important as services become more important and connectivity more ubiquitous.

The potential applications for Policy 2.0 are only limited by the scalability and sophistication of the platform and the imagination of the operator. Policy is no longer just a policeman, but a driver for new revenue in the transformed communication service market. As connectivity becomes ubiquitous, and services becoming network-agnostic, policy management has to be dynamic, real-time, and interface with a myriad of systems, from billing and provisioning to product catalog. These facts are only compounded by the growth cloud and M2M deployments. Leveraging policy management 2.0 is the only way for CSPs to compete and remain relevant in the new digital services economy.


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