Carriers have long known that unnecessary mobile signaling increases their costs, because it forces them to add capacity to maintain service levels. Many carriers are aware of potential countermeasures, such as signaling optimization, but have been uncertain about how much they stand to save. A new white paper available on the SEVEN Networks website titled “The Taming of the App: Measuring the Financial Impact of Mobile Signaling Optimization” answers that question.
Produced by industry analyst Monica Paolini of Senza Fili Consulting, the white paper models the financial benefits of implementing Open Channel Signaling Optimization, which is designed to significantly reduce smartphone signaling and associated bandwidth consumption.
Though transparent to mobile device users, their smartphone apps – which include games, social media, email, weather, news, etc. – constantly poll the network to search for updates. In aggregate, across multiple apps for multiple users, this background activity creates a heavy mobile signaling load, as devices must constantly connect to the carrier network.
Some mobile carriers anticipated that excessive signaling caused by chatty apps would be partially mitigated with the implementation of 4G/LTE networks. However, the proliferation of smartphone adoption, along with the explosion of free or inexpensive mobile apps, will continue to drive increased mobile signaling.
Nielsen reported that in 2012 the average mobile device had 41 apps, compared to 32 in 2011. It’s safe to say that this number will prove to be even higher for 2013 and beyond. Even though a typical user has several dozen mobile apps installed, only a few of them become frequently used favorites. Even apps that are rarely used can still generate substantial background activity.
In its exploration of this issue, the white paper examines the impact of network traffic on both the control plane (signaling/background activity) and the data plane (user-driven activity), and analyzes the cost savings that carriers can realize from using Open Channel Signaling Optimization software to manage and optimize app-driven signaling. The calculations are based upon optimization results achieved by the software in actual carrier networks.
The findings show that app-driven background traffic increases carrier network capacity requirements – and hence operating costs. At the same time, because smartphone subscribers do not directly initiate the app-related background activity, it becomes difficult for operators to monetize this activity.
The white paper concludes that carriers can realize per-device savings of $33 over the two-year life of a 4G smartphone by adopting SEVEN Networks technology to optimize mobile signaling. Significant savings can also be realized for 3G devices. We invite carriers interested in learning more to download the white paper or contact their SEVEN Networks representative.