Monday, 14 December 2009
Having encouraged data usage over mobile phones, the mobile operators are now finding that the infrastructure is struggling to cope. The conundrum is that even if they expand their networks, data usage will continue to grow exponentially. However, they cannot keep charging for usage to keep pace with the returns required on this (continuing) investment because they have instituted 'all you can eat' data plans that consumers have become accustomed to.
The same is going to occur on fixed line networks, and is already occurring in countries, such as the UK, where the core infrastructure was never designed to handle the phenomenal (and growing) usage we are seeing.
So, what are the potential solutions to this quandary? AT&T are proposing "education of users" so that people limit the amount of data they use and take some responsibility for not overstretching the under-powered network teh telcos are providing. A second solution is to look at intelligent routing and caching - such as that apparently being discussed by BT and Google with Content Connect
There is a third option that seems to terrify operators, both mobile and fixed. Become a big, fat, dumb pipe. Forget all the other bells and whistles you are trying to flog, and just focus on one thing - providing a profitable fat pipe that does its job.