Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making the Case for Reliable Wireless Broadband in the Metro

By Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO, BelAir Networks

It may not be a surprise that unreliable experiences are preventing subscribers from using video applications and accessing online commerce sites. But that this may be holding back billions in revenue, is news.

A recent survey we did with TNS Research shows that 44% of mobile subscribers find the metropolitan mobile broadband experience inadequate when they leave the home or office; a figure that rises to 57% for smartphone users. This number is higher in United Kingdom where 64% experience access issues.

Mobile video services and application revenues are already seeing the impact: A lack of reliable mobile broadband networks is already putting off 64% of subscribers from using mobile video services – this figure rises to 71% for smartphone users.

This may of course impact the potential for higher customer churn. When asked who they believe is responsible for resolving problems with mobile Internet service, 77% of people first turn to the mobile network provider. No big surprise there. However, close to 12% held the handset manufacturer responsible.

If mobile network providers were to charge for reliable coverage, both smartphone users and average subscribers would pay $7-8 dollars per month, on top of existing monthly service plans, with the age 16-24 demographic willing to pay up to $10. This constitutes tens of billions of dollars in potential additional annual revenue, which suggests that return on investments of additional wireless network deployments in metropolitan areas would pay back in months.

The opportunities are many. The opportunity cost of doing nothing can amount to $ billions.

Scalable service provider Wi-Fi and multi-access small cell networks have a role to play as Wireless as a Service becomes a reality later this year.

Service providers seeking additional revenue or business models, now more than ever, have the opportunity to bundle or evolve existing services to target managed services for SMB, education and hospitality markets. New business models include:

  • Managed Services for small and medium businesses, retail shops, malls and building owners using Wi-Fi or multimode small cells (Wi-Fi, 3G/Wi-Fi) for indoor, outdoor and campus coverage for their own business and customer.
  • Managed Services for businesses that offer private or public wireless access for their customers, vendors and partners
    • Ad-location and per-sub pricing models emerge as an option
  • Hosted Services where small cell networks enable shared access across business users and roaming service provider subscribers with integration to the service provider customers’ own core networks for billing/authentication
  • MVNO shared access small cell networks with secure integration to the customers’ core networks for billing/authentication or to the carrier’s core for fully managed/hosted MVNO services
  • Co-location Services enabling multiple operators to share common network infrastructure

At this year’s Mobile world Congress, taking place February 27 – March 1, BelAir Networks will showcase the benefits of highly scalable and integrated Service Provider Wi-Fi, mobile offload and new business model examples.

See you in Barcelona.

Reprinted from the BelAir Networks blog.

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