Mobile network operators need to develop smarter ways of charging for data usage in the face of a predicted 28% growth of mobile broadband use to 2015.
The warning comes in a new report from Ovum. The report says operators need to act if they are to increase profits on the back of this rapid growth of data use.
Clare McCarthy, Ovum principal analyst and author of the report said: ‘The phenomenal growth in 3G-enabled devices and smartphones has seen mobile broadband data volumes soar, and penetration is only set to increase. This is putting intense pressure on limited network capacity and spectrum, and profits are not keeping pace with traffic volumes.’
She added: ‘By expanding policy management and controls, operators can develop smarter charging plans that will provide them with a sustainable revenue stream, improved customer service and the ability to shape traffic on their mobile broadband networks.’
Ovum forecasts that mobile broadband users are set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28% over five years to 2015. 3G dongles and smartphones will drive demand for broadband data applications, while smartphone and tablet users will increasingly use their devices for video services.
McCarthy said discounted evening and weekend use or monthly data caps do not go far enough, only addressing one part of the equation.
'It doesn’t maximise revenue potential with high-value customers,’ she said.
Operators can increase revenues by introducing segmented data plans, which give customers a targeted service, McCarthy said..
‘For example, an enterprise is more likely than a family to pay for guaranteed bandwidth, priority service availability and predefined access controls,’ she added.
More targeted approaches such as offering 'bite-sized' access to data, can also work well in emerging markets, McCarthy said.
'If an MNO offers access to social networking services during a defined period at a lower cost, it can make its service more affordable and attractive to users, move traffic to off-peak periods and increase quality of service and customer experience across its operation,’ she added.