Blending and capturing the synergies between session, policy, subscriber data management (SDM), network and business intelligence, and mobile messaging gives service providers a unique centralized layer of network intelligence. This benefits service providers in several ways:
• Optimal use of network resources. A key challenge faced in the industry is the explosive growth of data traffic. The problem, however, is that service providers don’t see a corresponding growth in revenue; they simply cannot afford to grow network costs at the pace of traffic. Policy control provides new tools to manage high-bandwidth applications and to implement dynamic controls for peak traffic periods and high-use subscribers. Even a handful of changes can lower the cost of network operations dramatically. Policy and charging rules function (PCRF) communicates with core network systems, applications and operational support systems/business support systems (OSS/BSS) to manage subscriber and network information according to operator-created business rules. These rules define how broadband network resources are allocated to subscribers and apps, and under what conditions.
“Operators need to maintain a high quality of experience while managing resources effectively.”
• Delivery of the best possible subscriber experience, increasing customer loyalty and decreasing churn. Operators need to maintain a high quality of experience while managing their resources effectively. Policy helps them achieve this with such use cases as “bandwidth on demand” and service tiering. Subscribers who opt for a lower tier of service, for example, receive maximum bandwidth defined by their service tier. By evaluating network performance in real time, policies will be adjusted on the fly by subscriber or subscriber group. This will create a feedback loop to improve subscribers’ experience regularly, keeping them satisfied and loyal.
• A unified view of subscriber profiles, enabling increased revenue through the rapid deployment of personalized services. By centralizing network and subscriber profile data, as opposed to today’s current model of separate database silos, opportunities will arise to provide network-oriented, consolidated databases with a unified subscriber profile independent of the access technology used by the subscriber – a capability of growing importance for quad-play offerings or for operators deploying new technologies like LTE. SDM, when combined with performance management, is exactly what this space requires. According to Shira Levine, directing analyst of next-gen OSS and policy at Infonetics Research, “The combination of core network and SDM technology, advanced policy controls, and subscriber data analysis gives service providers unprecedented ability to build a truly subscriber-focused business.”
• New service and revenue opportunities. Subscribers want to personalize their services, demanding more flexible, individualized offerings. Service providers could offer, for example, a one-time “power boost” to increase movie download speeds for on-demand content or upload bandwidth speeds for online data storage. Additionally, the ability to widen the pipe could open the door to partnership revenue from services like Netflix or for online multi-player gaming communities. The synergies between policy control and performance management, SDM and service providers’ core services present many opportunities to differentiate services, to strengthen customer loyalty and to increase revenues. Focusing on building solutions for multiple generations of network architectures that interoperate with multiple technology equipment providers will be increasingly important as networks continue to get more complex, and as operators look for more ways to create revenues and improve the subscriber experience.
Vince Lesch is CTO at Tekelec. Contact him at Vincent.Lesch@tekelec.com.