iPhone Poses Challenges to Networks

Mobile operators enjoying a bumper influx of new iPhones on their networks need to carefully manage Radio Access Network (RAN) resources to ensure that these new handsets do not negatively impact the subscriber experience for other customers, according to Actix.

Whilst the launch of new Apple handsets provides an opportunity to lock subscribers into new contracts, Actix points out new devices can unbalance the network for other subscribers.

Neil Coleman, Director of Global Marketing at Actix explains: “New handsets come with new usage patterns and signalling implications and invariably lead to an increased demand for data from subscribers,” commented Coleman. “Mobile operators need to proactively monitor the impact that this has on mobile network quality – not only for users of the new devices but other subscribers.”

Each new generation of handsets combined with more generous contracts leads to significant jumps in mobile data consumption and corresponding network signalling. This places new strains on stretched mobile networks impacting the user experience of other subscribers. Coleman explains: “iPhone launches see tens of thousands of new handsets being activated on networks in a very short period. The implication for other subscribers can be a reduction in both the capacity and quality of service they receive, leading to customer complaints and risk of churn.”

Mobile operators test new handsets on their networks in advance of launches, but it is impossible to replicate the impact of high volumes of new devices being activated in a short period of time. “Network operators need to constantly review the impact of new devices on the network and be ready to make quick targeted adjustments,” commented Coleman.

Information from the RAN is essential to map the impact of new devices on network performance. The ActixOne platform enables mobile operators to identify the impact of new devices in the RAN and make network adjustments quickly and effectively. ActixOne combines geo-located subscriber information with customer issues and even social media activity, enabling mobile operators to quickly identify and resolve quality and capacity network issues following the launch of a new handset.

“New devices such as the iPhone 5s and 5c benefit operators by bringing in data hungry subscribers on long contracts,” continued Coleman. “But if the impact on other subscribers is to encourage them to complain or churn, much of the benefit can be lost. Operators should be ensuring that subscribers new and old enjoy an effective mobile experience.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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