As one of the newest faces at Procera, I thought I’d share a few observations from the Asia Pacific region where I’ve spent the past 14 years.
Two interesting and related factoids concerning Singapore last week: The Straits Times reported on a global study showing that Singaporeans not only top the world with the greatest proportion of Internet users owning smart phones, but they also rank second when it comes to the tablet computer. 75% of the population has a Smartphone and almost one in three has a tablet.
In the same week, 2 out of the 3 (mobile) operators in Singapore announced an end to “all you can eat” and unlimited data downloads, introducing caps and tiered pricing. It’s a scenario that is already being played out in other markets as well, as carriers struggle to provide QOS to all customers.
Carriers in the APAC markets of Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Australia are having to react to a mature subscriber base with heavy data download habits. There is huge pressure on international circuits and the need for operators to better manage bandwidth as data travels back and forth internationally including US, Europe and major gaming servers in Taiwan and China. Mobile is ubiquitous throughout the region, including emerging markets in SE Asia like India, Indonesia and Malaysia where smart phone devices are not just replacing the desktop for most forms of downloads but are actually the first owned devices for many subscribers downloading or streaming content.
Operators must manage this traffic. Encouraging off-peak usage such as reduced rates for movie downloads that occur overnight for watching the next day are emerging charging practices. They will also have to create and deliver personalized service plans that allow subscribers to build plans that give them precisely what they want. Subscribers will almost certainly be willing to pay the price for what they value rather than plain vanilla subscriptions that offer a single download price no matter the application, content at the same speed no matter the time of day. Charging, policy enforcement and service delivery solutions now exists for operators to execute on their marketing creativeness.
LTE/4G is now being launched in several APAC countries, putting even more pressure on operators as subscribers inevitably ramp up their usage with the “next” device and take advantage of even faster speeds, no matter where they happen to be at a particular time. One more fact just out- close to 60% of households in APAC will have digital TV by 2016. That means more channels and more programming for subscribers.
On another note and something I’ll address in a later post are government funded or government sponsored National Broadband Network (NBN) initiatives taking place in Australia, NZ and Singapore. Traditional dsl Broadband providers are putting in fiber to the premise (FTTX), bringing faster service to homes & businesses on a universal basis. Sounds like more traffic whichever way you look.