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Starhome, a provider of roaming services for mobile network operators, has released its Next Generation Intelligent Preferred Network Solution (NG-IPN).

Said to be the first fully automated Steering of Roaming (SoR) solution, NG-IPN enables operators to automatically steer their outbound roamers to preferred network partners based on revenues and Inter-operator Tariff (IOT) agreements. Optimised steering efficiency is achieved when NG-IPN detects the smallest deviation in the roamer's behavior pattern, profiles them, and initiates an automatic adjustment to the steering application. Therefore, NG-IPN's automated performance facilitates better steering results, maximizing targets set by mobile operators.

NG-IPN is also said to provide operators with an immediate snapshot of the usage status and distribution of roamers across all networks in each visited country, offering an up-to-date revenue status report. The automated solution provides efficient steering results by focusing on usage distribution rather than the number of roamers. In addition, NG-IPN eliminates costly and time-consuming manual provisioning as well as manual requests for daily status reports, culminating in across-the-board efficiency and accuracy.

Included in Starhome's evolved Intelligent Preferred Network solution is the ability to dynamically segment subscribers based on their current and previous usage. For example, high data consumption subscribers who use 3G data cards, such as iPhone and Blackberry, will be steered by NG-IPN to the network where the data targets are still outstanding; the same logic applies for voice-only users and sleepers (users who do not generate any roaming traffic).

According to Starhome, other Steering of Roaming (SoR) solutions focus solely on the distribution of roamers between visited networks rather than analyzing the actual usage and revenue patterns. To receive a revenue report, roaming managers must obtain reports from their billing departments, check each network to see if they are meeting targets, and modify the configurations.

"These enhanced capabilities dramatically increase steering effectiveness and help mobile operators achieve their roaming business goals quickly, more efficiently and with a minimal investment of resources," said Amit Daniel, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Starhome.

The solution features three main layers, which can work independently or together: SS7 signalling controls the handset registration process; over-the-air (OTA)/SIM control manages SIM data via OTA media; and the Hybrid mode integrates SS7 and SIM technologies for optimal redirection efficiency and response time for users and reduced signalling traffic, says the company.

Derdack, a provider of mobile messaging platforms and notification workflow software, today announced the launch of message master Enterprise Alert 2010 which combines automated alerts and notifications to enhance business continuity and systems uptime for critical services.  Using incident-forward communications, notifications can go beyond the enterprise's boundaries to customers and suppliers thus raising satisfaction levels, says Derdack.

Matthes Derdack, Managing Director of Derdack explained, "We could see that our notification workflow software provided many benefits to companies looking to maintain service uptime.  It was a logical step to extend the multi-destination notification functionality to communicate with a broader audience.  A proactive incident-forward communication strategy ensures users and customers are kept up to date on any issues that have affected service availability.  This prevents lost staff productivity, raises customer satisfaction levels and reduces the number of support calls that are generated regarding the same incident."

message master Enterprise Alert has become an established product for companies looking to consolidate and manage alerts and notifications for systems monitoring.  The software has been enhanced to make message master Enterprise Alert 2010 ultra reliable so it can function effectively as part of critical systems infrastructure.  There are a number of additional features for a fully redundant set up to ensure it is always available to act as a central alert and notification hub.

Derdack says a close working relationship with Microsoft ensures that users see a familiar interface leading to faster adoption and consequently quicker deployment and operation.

Other improvements include:

    a.. Greater two-way integration with third-party applications including industrial systems via OPC
    b.. Customers, suppliers and employees can define and self-manage notification subscriptions and preferences via an online portal
    c.. Easier reporting and export of data into applications such as Excel
    d.. Better filtering of double events
    e.. SOAP-based SDK for software developers

Matthes Derdack concludes, "The new version builds on the foundations established when we launched message master Enterprise Alert.  The software is proven in a wide range of customer scenarios to help maintain systems availability and reduce the mean time to repair (MTTR).  We have listened carefully to customer feedback and incorporated a range of exciting new features which will extend the product's capabilities around business continuity and customer satisfaction.  It also aids real-time managerial decision making, for example determining when to put a disaster recovery plan into operation."

Key features of message master Enterprise Alert 2010:

    a.. Links to multiple event sources such as IT (Microsoft System Center, IBM Tivoli, HP Openview, etc), facilities management, manufacturing and Business Process Monitoring (BPM) systems
    b.. Automated and intelligent alert and notification workflows following the closed-loop principle
    c.. Multiple 2-way communication channels, e.g. voice, SMS, email, IM, fax, MMS
    d.. Communication with multiple audiences, such as service technicians, managers, users, clients and suppliers
    e.. Full audit trail and real-time reporting capability

TM Forum, the world industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, announced today the results of its latest Business Benchmarking study which uncovers a direct link between Communications Service Providers (CSPs) levels of unbilled revenue and the maturity of their revenue assurance programs. The study results are included in TM Forum's latest Insights Business Intelligence Report, "Revenue Assurance: The Hidden Opportunity".
 
The report, which includes observations from recent TM Forum Business Benchmarks, finds that CSPs who target Revenue Assurance holistically differentiate themselves through high performance, efficient operations, and improved bottom-line contributions. Revenue Assurance success is best represented by the percentage of revenue that cannot be billed, a measure that reflects ability to identify revenue leakage as well as to recover leaked revenue. In the highest-performing CSPs included in the benchmark, 0.0% of revenue could not be billed, whereas poorest performing CSPs could not bill 6.4%.

Key Findings of the report are:

  • Revenue Assurance performance is directly correlated with the maturity of a CSP's Revenue Assurance program, making Revenue Assurance maturity an important investment. A strong Revenue Assurance capability is a core attribute of high-performing CSPs - a necessity and a differentiator.
  • Mature Revenue Assurance departments can look like cost centers if measured solely on revenue recovery, especially if there is little leaked revenue to recover. A better measure of Revenue Assurance success is the percent of revenue that cannot be billed. This measure reflects ability to identify revenue leakage as well as to recover leaked revenue. In highest-performing CSPs included in the benchmark, 0.0% of revenue could not be billed, whereas poorest performing CSPs could not bill 6.4%.
  • The best-performing CSPs had Revenue Assurance maturity metrics that were 0.50 to 0.80 points higher than the general survey population. The best-performing CSPs had highest maturity in Organization and People, followed by Influence.
  • Charging and third party settlements are becoming more challenging as a result of increasingly complex service bundles that often include third-party service components, growing transaction volumes, and an increasing number of suppliers. Revenue Assurance organizations play an important role in preserving margin on new revenue streams, including tracking new transaction types through to correct billing and third-party fund allocations.

The report analyzes the benefits of strong Revenue Assurance performance for CSPs at all levels of size and maturity. It includes observations from recent TM Forum Business Benchmarking Revenue Assurance benchmarks and Revenue Assurance Maturity Model surveys.

The report also includes perspectives from CSP thought-leaders about the contribution Revenue Assurance makes to their corporate success, and views from key industry suppliers on current and future Revenue Assurance challenges.

TM Forum's Business Benchmarking Program manages and delivers metric-based benchmarking studies, surveys on qualitative aspects of performance, and business intelligence reports. Regular Business Performance studies are completed on Broadband, Mobile, High-speed Business, and Converged Services, as well as on Billing and Revenue Assurance Performance. Qualitative surveys and business intelligence reports span a wide range of hot industry topics.

 "Mature Revenue Assurance organizations need to expand their remit beyond traditional measures into managing new revenue streams. The pay-off will be higher margins on new revenue streams, more success in bringing new services to market, and positive customer experience, " said Martin Creaner, president and COO, TM Forum. "Service Providers that embrace this hidden opportunity will be in a much stronger position than those that don't. It is an important differentiator."

"To determine their true contribution, Revenue Assurance organizations should be measured on more than recovered revenue. A good, but not sufficient, measure is unbillable revenue," added Tonia Graham, Business Benchmarking Program manager, TM Forum. "Recovered revenue doesn't have a measurable impact on the bottom line - unless, of course, you stop doing it. If you see your Revenue Assurance team as a cost center, you are missing an opportunity."

"The act of self-assessment itself has already helped us to identify room for improvements and I'm confident that the final result will point us down the path toward the next level of maturity," said Rose Moura, Director of Revenue Assurance, Swisscom AG.

According to a new survey report from Juniper Research, more than 3 million consumers have now used mobile coupons in the UK. The survey was conducted in October 2009.

The mobile coupons consumer survey, launched globally today, is said to provide detailed insight into consumers' current usage of mobile coupons. It also gauges the future prospects for new interactive mobile marketing techniques such as coupon services and smart posters, says Juniper.

Howard Wilcox, Senior Analyst at Juniper Research, commented: "The redemption rate for traditional paper coupons is typically 1% or less, but, based on our survey, mobile coupons offer 6 times these rates. This means that retailers and brands have the opportunity to exploit the mobile channel via personalised coupon offers direct to the ultimate personal device - the mobile phone."

The survey showed that in excess of three quarters of those questioned were aware of mobile coupons and that once people receive coupons then there is a strong probability that they will also redeem them. The Orange Wednesdays campaign is a prime example of a successful mobile coupons programme.

Smart Posters
As well as coupons, Juniper Research's new report ‘The Mobile Coupons Consumer Survey' found that smart posters are likely to be popular amongst the 16 to 34 age groups. The ability to tap smart posters to receive coupons and product samples presents opportunities to market products in new and innovative ways such as movie trailer downloads.

The report is said to contain comprehensive analysis of the survey results by gender, age group, socio economic group and working status.  

NextiraOne, a European specialist in communications services, has provided a new Unified Communications platform for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Completed earlier this year the project is now fully operational and is enabling the ICAEW to improve its quality of service and reduce its telephony and operating costs through the integration of voice, video and data networks and the introduction of advanced collaboration tools.

The ICAEW is the largest professional accountancy organisation in Europe and has over 132,000 members who run and advise businesses across every economic sector, spanning 165 countries and counting a number of the FTSE CEOs and FDs as its members. The ICAEW wanted to create a new voice, video and data environment that would enhance its business efficiency and quality of service, encourage collaborative working, whilst managing and reducing overall telephony costs, and ensuring business continuity. With its Head Office in London and an office in Milton Keynes, the ICAEW also has regional and international offices and a significant number of home-workers, all of whom needed to be connected in an efficient and cost-effective way through the new advanced voice, video and data communications system.

The infrastructure designed and implemented by NextiraOne for the ICAEW provides a combined solution based on technology from both Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco. NextiraOne used the best of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise technology for the IP telephony solution and the Contact Centre, plus a range of advanced applications for the working environment and introduced Cisco switching for local area networking at the London and Milton Keynes sites.

The result is a fully integrated Unified Communications system, providing an IP Telephony platform supporting 650 users across the business, including the Head Office in London, an office in Milton Keynes, international and regional offices and around 140 home-workers.  Based around an Alcatel-Lucent Omni-PCX Enterprise platform, the Unified Communications infrastructure has created an enhanced working environment, integrating many applications designed to improve efficiency and promote collaborative working, including My Teamwork, My Messaging, My Phone, One Number and My Instant Communicator, and providing a fully integrated desktop with Unified Inbox.

The NextiraOne solution also includes an Alcatel-Lucent OmniTouch Premium Contact Centre which allows the ICAEW to monitor and record calls, measure performance and analyse the results so that improvements can be made to the quality of service to callers, such as better response times. The Contact Centre solution also includes the Alcatel-Lucent desktop wallboard solution and NICE IP Voice Recording.

NextiraOne's core telephony solution incorporated several levels of resilience, based on dual servers with spatial redundancy in ICAEW's Data Centres in Milton Keynes and London, designed to ensure business continuity and provide Disaster Recovery. NextiraOne also provides comprehensive support and maintenance for the ICAEW's infrastructure through a Managed Services Contract and has worked closely with the ICAEW to produce training materials.

The new communications platform has significantly improved the way the ICAEW communicates both internally and with its clients and provides a springboard for the ICAEW's ambition to expand internationally. NextiraOne's substantial European presence in 17 countries is said to have been a significant factor in the ICAEW's choice of the company as its partner. This was complemented by NextiraOne's ability to understand the business case and demonstrate the practical benefits that its solution would have in increasing productivity and business efficiency.

"We had clear strategic objectives in implementing the new Unified Communications system," says Bill Wilson, Director of IT at the ICAEW. "Collaborative working was top of our wish list, along with improved quality of service and system reliability. NextiraOne showed us how we could achieve all this and also find significant reductions in operating costs. NextiraOne approached the project from a business perspective, seeing the technology as a mean to provide the benefits we needed."

NextiraOne has a direct sales and service presence in 17 countries, serving more than 60,000 customers. The company  designs, installs, maintains and supports sustainable solutions to meet the communications needs of its customers - from voice, data and video to mobility, security and applications.

Steven Skakel, Managing Director UK & Ireland at NextiraOne, said: "Using Unified Communications and collaboration tools was the ideal solution for an organisation like the ICAEW and we were able to deliver a scalable solution which can grow with the expansion of the ICAEW's international business. Our experts understand the business drivers of major organisations like the ICAEW and we were able to propose and implement a tailored solution designed to deliver specific and tangible benefits."

Said to be in response to increased demand for product and service management in the Communication Service Provider (CSP) industry in Croatia, Tribold and CRMT have signed a partnership agreement, which will bring Tribold's Enterprise Product Management solution to the South Eastern European region.

Slavko Kastelic, Managing Director at CRMT, said: "As the CSP industry in the region develops we are witnessing an increasing awareness of the key role that Product and Service Management plays in achieving and maintaining market positions and increasing efficiency in the areas of marketing, operations, network and finance."

Kastelic continued: "Tribold was an obvious partner for CRMT because of their Tier-1 references, the maturity of the Tribold 3 product, and particularly the leadership in the CSP community demonstrated through Tribold's activities in the TM Forum standards and specification processes. We are excited to be working with a company that not only provides the solution but actively shapes the Product and Service Management landscape in the CSP industry and we are looking forward to bringing the benefits of Tribold 3 to the operators and providers in the region."

Simon Muderack, Tribold COO and founder commented, "This partnership provides carriers in South Eastern Europe the unique opportunity to access the recognized global leader in the Enterprise Product Management software through a local partner with intimate knowledge of the regional market".

Envivio has announced that its 4Caster C4 video encoder is being used by Bouygues Telecom, said to be one of France's largest mobile network operators with ten million subscribers, to encode video for its TV 3G+ mobile video service. The Bouygues Telecom video headend is hosted by Cognacq-Jay Image, the content management and delivery subsidiary of TDF. TV 3G+ provides subscribers with access to more than 60 channels in a variety of standard and premium packages.

When launching the new service in November 2008, Bouygues Telecom and Cognacq-Jay Image elected to replace their legacy software encoders with the 4Caster C4 hardware encoder configured for Mobile TV. The multi-profile 4Caster C4 enables the TV 3G+ service to be optimized for the 176 different handsets currently in use by Bouygues Telecom subscribers. This includes a QVGA resolution, 3.5G HSDPA profile to deliver premium video quality for subscribers with high end devices.

"4Caster C4 from Envivio has helped us by delivering the reliability and performance needed to provide a good quality of experience for the end user, as well as flexibility that is enabling our company to follow the fast-moving mobile market." said Thibaut Keraval in charge of Mobile Services Solutions in Bouygues Telecom.

"Upgrading the existing infrastructure to an up-to-date Envivio platform was an important decision in the development of TV 3G+," said David Karoutchi, Business Development Manager - Mobile & Broadband, Cognacq-Jay Image. "The 4Caster C4 provides a high reliability, high performance foundation that offers the superior service levels we were looking for in order to ensure the best experience for subscribers."

The Envivio 4Caster C4 simultaneously delivers four channels of video with up to 32 different Mobile TV profiles per system, providing a compression platform for operators launching new services or upgrading early generation services based on software encoding platforms. The Bouygues Telecom deployment also includes the Envivio 4Manager headend management system, providing M:N automatic redundancy configuration for true carrier-grade service availability. This is claimed to transform mobile TV into a full-fledged service offering, based on a state-of-the-art professional headend infrastructure.

cVidya Networks, a global specialist in Telecom, Revenue Assurance and Dealer Management systems, announced today that 1&1 Internet, the Web host by known servers and a leading ISP in Germany, has deployed cVidya's revenue assurance product for partner invoice reconciliation. The software will enable 1&1 to more efficiently identify and manage disputable charges in inter-carrier invoices between their own organization and network and infrastructure owners. 

cVidya's Partner Invoice Reconciliation solution automatically recalculates invoices and verifies accuracy of inter-carrier payments for third party outsourced services such as leased lines and next generation infrastructures. This results in a major decrease in expenses for DSL access. By identifying discrepancies, the service provider is able to negotiate, prove and reclaim erroneous payments and bills.

"Due to the increasing complexity of communication networks, there is a growing demand for a solution that enables service providers to more effectively minimize and measure errors in settling accounts between operators and service providers," commented Alon Aginsky, the president and CEO of cVidya Networks. "Existing billing systems need to be updated regularly to optimally process the complicated accounting between wholesale operators and service providers. cVidya is pleased to be working with 1&1 towards the first deployment of its new Partner Invoice Reconciliation solution."

Markus Huhn, CFO of 1&1 Internet added, "We are confident that cVidya's Partner Invoice Reconciliation solution will be instrumental in enhancing 1&1's inter-carrier invoicing processes. By minimizing cost and required resources, this solution will increase efficiency of our invoice processing procedure."

Over 5,000 world leaders, foreign ambassadors and international journalists at this year's NATO summit in Strasbourg communicated using a wireless infrastructure provided by Meru Networks. 

According to Serge Hervy, responsible for events at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the most urgent requirement for the summit's wireless LAN was reliability - especially with such an unusually high density of users. The WLAN would have to support up to 4,500 simultaneous Wi-Fi connections, both on the internet and via an internal VPN. Complicating matters, only 4,000 square meters were dedicated for 2,000 journalists, and the delegations were scattered over the buildings of the summit, which created an obstacle for ubiquitous coverage.

Summit organisers had to choose between various third-generation "microcell" vendors and Meru Networks, a pioneering fourth-generation "virtual cell" vendor. Third-generation WLANs from legacy vendors use a microcell approach, which assigns different radio channels to many small, adjacent access point cells to ensure that no two APs use the same radio channel in the same place. This technique requires precise and time-consuming channel planning and AP power adjustments; it is also known to create problems with contention, co-channel interference and quality of service.

By contrast, Meru's virtual-cell architecture selects a single channel for use by all access points enterprise-wide. Additional channels can be layered as more capacity is required. This approach removes co-channel interference, even with the volatile IEEE 802.11n standard, and eliminates the need for a detailed site survey at conception and during the WLAN's lifecycle for adds/moves and changes.

"Meru's fourth-generation virtual cell technology was the only solution on the market that could match the summit's reliability and user-density needs" explained Eric Thomas, director of operations, Altius.

Meru partner Altius deployed three Meru wireless LANs comprising a total of 80 access points and six controllers rented from Léni, a company specialising in high-tech equipment rental for big events. Six engineers were able to complete the ambitious deployment in less than two weeks. To guarantee bandwidth to every Wi-Fi user, the networks built of multiple virtual cells were configured to support both 802.11a/b/g, 802.11n and to offer a bandwidth greater than 1,6Gbps, making Meru's platform the newest and fastest Wi-Fi enterprise solution on the market. Introducing slower clients can dramatically reduce the overall throughput of an access point; however, Meru's APs are embedded with an Airtime Fairness algorithm that provides equal access for all clients regardless of access methods (e.g., 802.11 a, b, g or n) or speed. In the 2009 Novarum report ("Enterprise 802.11n Wireless LAN Access Point Performance Benchmark"), both Cisco's and Aruba's airtime fairness degraded as client density increased; only Meru's improved.

David Kelly, Meru Vice President of International Sales, said, "Meru Networks via its partner Altius was honoured to facilitate wireless communication for NATO's sixtieth anniversary. We plan to continue developing upon our already cutting-edge technology in the years ahead to ensure that Meru customers will always enjoy the most peaceful, secure and hassle-free wireless experiences possible."

Access equipment from Occam Networks - which launched itself into the EMEA region earlier last month at the ITU World Telecom event in Geneva - is said to be at the heart of one of the most advanced Open Access Networks (OAN) in Europe.  Occam's BLC 6322 GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) FTTP blade is handling traffic to and from the business park as part of a prestige contract won by the company's UK-based value added reseller Fibre Options.

Scarborough Business Park in the United Kingdom is England's first OAN and one of the first anywhere in Europe to offer bandwidth over 100 Mbps to its customers. The availability of such high speed broadband in one of the United Kingdom's most rural and remote areas has already won the local authority for Scarborough the European Commission's award as the "most enterprising town" in the UK which was then followed up with the same accolade for the whole of Europe.

"To be involved in such an innovative and forward looking network is great news for Occam and we congratulate Fibre Options on their achievement in winning the contract and delivering such a world class network," said Russ Sharer, Marketing Vice President of Occam Networks.  "We have great confidence that our products will succeed across Europe as the region embraces the need for higher bandwidth delivery."

The pioneering OAN at Scarborough is operated by NYnet, an organisation formed by North Yorkshire County Council, with funding from the UK Government regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward and the European Union. The responsibility for providing the optical access network to, and around the site has been handled by Fibre Options.

"The Occam BLC 6322 GPON OLT is a perfect fit for the job," said Mark Trojacek of Fibre Options.  "It is a simple solution that easily scales enabling us to cope with growth and increased demand without any major service or network upheaval."

Fibre Options, a system integrator in the western European market, has been working with Occam to develop emerging FTTP broadband networks.  "We have an excellent partnership with Occam and we know its BLC 6000 MSAP product line is one Fibre Options and our service provider customers can rely on," added Mark Trojacek.

The 6322 GPON blade can provide full line-rate bandwidth on every GPON port for deployments such as Scarborough. With its ability to offer a full array of advanced services, including IPTV, it is also ideally suited to future entertainment requirements. Inside the product is the Occam Packet Engine that comprises processing designed specifically to support the massive Ethernet and IP processing demands of business and Triple Play applications at work or at home.

The Scarborough Business Park is a £9.6 million scheme involving both an existing active park and a new location directly opposite. More than 100 acres have now been developed and the local council are looking to create 1,000 new jobs during the next ten years - a significant development in such a remote location.

According to a new report from Juniper Research, the international mobile money transfer market will be worth in excess of $65bn by 2014, based on gross transaction values - driven principally from migrant workers based in developed countries.

Juniper's new report - ‘Mobile Money Transfer & Remittances: Markets, Forecasts & Strategies 2009-2014' -  however also identified a number of inhibiting factors such as rising global unemployment and increased immigration controls by governments which will hold back the market until the recession is over.  

Howard Wilcox, Senior Analyst, commented: "Our view is very clear - in the long term this market proposition is highly attractive. Mobile remittance offers a speedy, cost effective and convenient channel for people to send money regularly to friends and family at home, who themselves may not have bank accounts".   

The mobile money transfer report also revealed a new emerging sector for microcredits, saving accounts and insurance payments. Known as "sophisticated financial services" these services are entirely focused on developing countries where users do not have access to traditional banking or financial services or simply use alternative means of payment traditionally such as physically transporting cash, or storing cash savings at home. The report found that is new market for financial services on the mobile, can add to the attractiveness of mobile money services, and help to reduce mobile operator churn.

Further findings are said to include:

  • North America and Western Europe will be the main remittance sending regions in 2014
  • Typically international transfers are conducted by a smaller base of users than national or domestic transfers, but transaction values are higher, payments are more regular and less frequent.

Camiant, a provider of policy control and application assurance technology, today announced the findings of its latest study, "Rethinking Mobile Broadband Data Rate Plans" indicating that by redesigning mobile broadband data rate plans, operators will be able to help solve one of the industry's most pressing concerns - the bandwidth-value gap.  The study results are said to point to a high level of interest by consumers in alternative rate plan structures to today's traditional packages.

The bandwidth-value gap is the growing disconnect between bandwidth demand and revenue growth.  Estimates from Heavy Reading indicate that bandwidth on 3G mobile networks is growing by approximately 400% annually while the associated revenue from data services is only growing approximately 40% per year.  Camiant's study has found that mobile data consumers were more interested in rate plans designed to control bandwidth and afford incremental revenue add-ons than they were in traditional "Cap + Overage" rate plans with strict usage caps with steep overage penalties.

The study was commissioned by Camiant and conducted by Heavy Reading in September and October 2009.  263 mobile broadband dongle users throughout Europe including UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden were polled regarding their preferences for various forms of rate plans.

 Key findings are:

 Consumers have concerns with "Cap + Overage" style rate plans

--  62% didn't know what their usage cap was
--  76% didn't know how much bandwidth they actually used
--  39% didn't know what happened if they went over the usage cap
--  45% were very/moderately concerned about exceeding the cap
 
When presented with four alternative rate plan structures and asked their preference -- "Cap + Overage" was least preferred by consumers.  A plan that includes the same base package, charging the same effective rate for overage with the understanding that service speed would be low for any data over the monthly limit during peak hours -- generated more than twice the interest level:

-- EUR 20 for 3GB + EUR 20/GB overage                                          16%
-- EUR 20 for 3GB + EUR 7/GB overage + peak bandwidth limit        35%
-- EUR 20 for unlimited low speed service                                        23%
-- EUR 50 for unlimited high speed service                                       26%
 

 Many users were willing to pay additional fees beyond the base subscription for potential "extras":

--  43% of all respondents would pay EUR 5 in addition to base plan for
    unlimited usage of one specific application.  Of those that were
    interested, 90% said it was important that they select the application.
--  45% of respondents interested in a service that might provide lower
    speed at some point said they would be willing to pay between EUR 1 and EUR
    3 for on-demand higher speed "for a short duration (e.g. 1 hour)."
 
Other findings included results regarding casual use, application limitations and usage controls.

"The prospect that network growth could consume revenue faster than operators can generate it marks a new phase in the industry's maturation," said Randy Fuller, vice president of Business Development at Camiant. "Our study clearly indicates that there are definite opportunities for mobile operators to use rate plan structures to help solve this problem and that users are receptive to creative alternatives."

By rethinking mobile data rate plans, says Camiant, operators can enable users to make value decisions based more in line with operator cost as well as directly address peak bandwidth utilization and the true cost of marginal network growth.  Also, since operators can offer variable and ARPU-expanding options in search of market share growth rather than simple discounts, the potential occurrence of a profit-destroying price war should be reduced.

"It's becoming very clear that network operators need to offer a wider range of package options to users of mobile data users," said Graham Finnie, Chief Analyst at Heavy Reading. "This study provides strong evidence that end users are willing to consider a range of alternatives to conventional usage management schemes."

    

@eurocomms