Evaluating the Impact of New Devices

Given this year’s MWC theme is “The Edge of Innovation”, it’s no wonder that several new mobile phone made their debut this week—accompanied by a slew of new capabilities aimed at grabbing both analyst and subscriber attention. Microsoft announced two new smartphones, the Lumia series and the Windows 10. Jolla launched their version of the smart phone and the first Jolla Tablet will start shipping this year. Samsung announced the Galaxy S6 phones while HTC unveiled an update to its HTC—one that includes a hugely megapixel camera.

Aside from the cool new bells and whistles for subscribers, will these new phones impact the Service Provider as well? Might carriers again be surprised like they were by Apple users who reported spikes in data usage from their iPhone 6 devices? Will Jolla’s Sailfish OS application refresh become a data hog or will it keep data usage within reason? How will the new Lumia smartphones curb data usage and avoid pesky overcharges?

Service Providers can proactively get in front of any issues that might arise from new handset types and OSs. Specifically relating to traffic steering, providers can route charging and access requests to specific network servers based on the context of the event. Then they can observe spikes over time and apply policies to protect their subscribers from exceeding data quotas.

Let’s dive into this deeper for a moment and use Diameter Credit Control Request (CCR) messages as an example. Originating from a GGSN or PGW, these requests usually contain info about the handset type. Even if the initial CCR message doesn’t describe the handset type, the IMEI can be fetched from LDAP accessible database. The F5 Traffix Signaling Delivery Controller (SDC) maintains a routing database that can map IMEIs to particular Charging Systems or PCRFs. Using the SDC’s contextual routing capability, the Service Provider can accumulate data on a particular handset type to determine any issues that the new device may influence on optimal network performance.

Maybe the Service Provider is interested in a particular number range.  The SDC can extract the IMSI and or the MSISDN from the CCR and route the message to an assigned server. Or maybe the Service Provider is interested only in a particular device type when it’s using a specific radio access type. Routing can be based on any combination of attribute value pairs (AVP) contained in the Diameter messages.

At the end of the day, the sky is—mostly—the limit when it comes to new opportunities around the latest handsets and OSs.

Service Providers should remain attentive and get ready for the upcoming September through December months, otherwise known as the “upgrade season,” when the new tech from MWC along with other unveiled technology from handset providers will drive new device purchases and OS upgrades. The above examples are just a starting point. The only limitation is one’s imagination.

Published Mar 04, 2015
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