The Fightback Begins: Mobile Operators to Tackle HD, Encryption, NFV Realities and Security

The Fightback Begins: Mobile Operators to Tackle HD, Encryption, NFV Realities and Security Image Credit: Openwave Mobility

Openwave Mobility, the market leader in mobile data traffic management solutions, today released its predictions for 2018. The forecasts are based on two major pieces of analysis from Openwave Mobility in 2017. The Mobile Video Index (MVI) is based on live data gathered from over 30 global mobile operators and summarizes the state of play in mobile video. The NFV Playbook was based on NFV trials and deployments with insight from leading industry analysts.

#1: 2018 could be make or break for operator QoE

John Giere,
President and CEO,

John Giere, President and CEO: What was your favorite show of 2017? The Handmaid’s Tale? Game of Thrones? In 2017 alone, it is estimated that nearly 500 TV series were produced. But “TV” series are increasingly being watched on mobile – and operators are struggling to cope. In 2017 nearly 40 percent of all mobile video traffic was HD. HD requires 3-4x more bandwidth than standard video and this is stretching some networks to breaking point.

In 2018, we forecast HD to reach 50 per cent of mobile video traffic. Subscribers now say that mobile video quality is more important than voice calls and yet mobile data revenues are under attack from…you guessed it….OTT players like Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook. 2018 is a make or break year for mobile QoE. Forward looking operators have started the fightback to take control of their networks and subscribers.

#2: Going, going gone – mobile operators in the dark

Indranil Chatterjee, SVP of Products, Sales & Marketing: Encryption protocols from Google, Facebook and others continue to darken mobile networks for mobile operators – and operators can’t manage what they can’t see with conventional traffic management technology. To get a feel for the sheer scale of this growth consider Google QUIC. QUIC has grown at an astonishing CAGR of 284%. Nobody saw this coming.

Based on this, in 2018, we predict that that 90% of internet traffic will go dark for operators. Google QUIC will be 32% of global internet traffic. This is another nail in the coffin for operator’s ability to manage subscriber QoE unless they take proactive steps.

#3: NFV: Reality dawns

Matt Halligan, Chief Technology Officer: Our research in 2017 revealed strengths and weaknesses in mobile operator NFV strategies. On a positive, AT&T’s initiative with Open Source software and clear objectives tied to annual bonuses provided inspiration to a number of other operators. But on the negative, some operators have misaligned the financial and business case for NFV. For example, the majority of an operator’s budget, typically 80-90%, is still Capital Expenditure. This is fundamentally misaligned with the very DNA of a cloud model, which is a pure Operational Expenditure. This is a cultural issue and we anticipate tough conversations between finance and operations groups to continue in 2018. Additionally, some operators risk crippling their NFV strategy before it gets off the ground, by creating vendor lock-ins and technology siloes. Ironically these are some of the very problems NFV was set up to resolve.

From our observations successful operators appear to spend 70% on VNFs and 30% on NFV infrastructure. We expect that to continue.

#4: The X factor for Security

Aman Brar, VP, SDM & Global Alliances: The iPhone X created a buzz when it introduced the world to facial recognition. Rather than allowing OTTs such as Google and Apple to ‘own’ subscriber identity and security, mobile operators have been working with industry initiatives such as GSMA Mobile Connect on authentication platforms. Yet, OTT data encryption has impacted this too. Header Enrichment, a security identification method used by operators, does not work with secure traffic. New technologies able to manage encrypted data are turning the tide for operators.

In 2018, a handful of forward thinking operators will start to use identity and security mechanisms to alleviate the headache of remembering usernames and passwords. Our research conducted in 2017 in the US and Europe found that 76% of subscribers want help from mobile operators to offer them single sign-ins for apps and services – to make life easy.

#5: The outlook for 2018: A tale of two halves?

John Giere, President and CEO concludes: The continuing convergence of media and communications presents phenomenal opportunities. Success will be defined by how mobile operators manage and navigate their mobile data, which has once again grown 100 percent year-on-year. A key challenge is that video accounts for 76 percent of that growth. There’s also a dramatic shift in the cloud, as an increasing amount of network traffic is getting delivered via NFV, and 92% of network traffic will be delivered via the cloud by 2020.

Given these trends, mobile operators require a unified identity profile for each subscriber. This would take into account the subscriber's requirements and ensure they receive the best possible QoE however and wherever they consume media. This puts the operator on the best possible footing for 2018 to monetize their data and sustain this virtuous cycle of mobile video and cloud.

About The Authors:
John Giere has over 20 years of wireless industry management experience in sales, product management, marketing and business development. Prior to his role as President and CEO of Openwave Mobility, John served as GM of the mediation business unit for Openwave Systems. Before Openwave Systems, John served as CMO for Alcatel-Lucent and CMO for Lucent Technologies. Before joining Lucent in 2003, John worked for Ericsson in various strategic marketing and business development roles. John currently serves on the Board of Sonim Technologies. He holds an MBA from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University.
Indranil Chatterjee has over 15 years of experience in product management, marketing, strategy and software development in the mobile communications and IT industries. Prior to joining Openwave Systems, Indranil was Director of Product Management at Syniverse Technologies, responsible for new product development for wireless applications and mobile analytics. Before joining Syniverse, he served as Director of Wireless Solutions for Alcatel-Lucent. Indranil was a member of the Board of Governors of 4G Americas. He holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – BHU, India.
Matt Halligan has over 17 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and has held a range of technical and management roles within Research & Development. Prior to his role of Vice-President of Engineering at Openwave Mobility, Matt was Vice-President for Engineering within Openwave Systems, responsible for all R&D functions for the Mobile business, management of 180 engineers across the globe and site management of the Belfast facility. Before joining Openwave Systems in 2002, Matt spent 7 years at Nortel and was the Chief Software Architect for Nortel’s NITEC R&D facility, with responsibility for SDH optical networks software solutions. Matt graduated with first class BEng honors degree.
Aman Brar is a seasoned technologist with 20+ years of mobile and software industry experience in product development, global business development, global solutions (pre-sales) and global strategic partnerships/alliances. He is currently heading SDM business at Openwave Mobility that offers digital identity products to leading mobile network operators for NFV cloud, internet of things, fixed mobile converged networks and OTT monetization. Prior to his current role, he held several management and technology roles at Openwave Systems, BellSouth and Tata Consultancy Services. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, India.


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