2013: New Year, New Mobile App Troubles

The New Year is still young, but carriers are facing the same old problems from mobile app data that rose to a critical level in 2012. Here’s a round-up of several recent news events that shows that the need for better traffic optimization is growing.

A lot more data: The Cisco Systems Visual Networking Index is one of the most widely quoted mobile traffic reports in the industry.  Now, the company has updated its predictions, with the stark news that by 2017, global mobile data traffic will jump by 13 times to 11.2 exabytes consumed globally per month.  That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66% over a five-year period. Cisco believes that a combination of more connected devices – growing from 7 billion to 10 billion by 2017 – and increased usage (“soon every network experience will become a mobile experience”) are the driving forces.

What one app can do to a network: How much of an impact can one app have on a carrier’s network?  As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post about Angry Birds, one app can bring a network to its knees.  The new Facebook app is not that bad, but a recent study by Alcatel-Lucent shows that the November 2012 update of the Facebook app for iOS and Android drove a “dramatic increase of almost 60 percent in the signaling load and 25 percent in the airtime consumed by the Facebook application.” During that time the user base of Facebook Mobile only increase by 4 percent, meaning that the rest of the increase must be from the new design.

Carriers start to rank apps:  Customers turn to user and expert reviews to find out about new apps, but will they turn to a carrier review to know what impact that app will have on their battery life and data plan?  Verizon is hoping so.  The carrier has begun to rank iOS and Android apps on security, battery consumption, user experience and data usage.  For example, the company calls games like Fruit Ninja Free and Draw Something “high risk” apps due to their impact on battery drain, even though they are very popular overall. Facebook Messenger and eBay get bad marks for their persistent data connections, which transmit megabytes of overhead data that can chew through a data plan.

The growing impact of mobile data is causing carriers and others to take notice. It’s why mobile traffic optimization and management solutions like those in our Open Channel product family are continuing to get so much attention from carriers.

About SEVEN Networks

SEVEN Networks software solutions deliver device-centric mobile traffic management and analytics for wireless carriers. Extending control from the network to the mobile client gives operators the power to manage and optimize data traffic before it impacts the network. Device-based analytics offer deeper and timelier insight than solutions that are solely network based. SEVEN’s Open Channel products reduce operator costs, increase efficiency in the use of wireless infrastructure, and enhance end-user experience. They bring immediate capacity relief to overloaded networks, simplify the creation of innovative new service plans, and provide actionable intelligence for mobile carriers.
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