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Stokin' Up Mobile Data Offload

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
1/28/2010
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Stoke Inc. has unveiled a new mobile data "release valve" for operators that, the vendor claims, can relieve the pressure on their network capacity caused by the surge in 3G mobile data traffic. (See Stoke Offloads Mobile Data.)

The new product -- dubbed the Stoke Mobile Data Offload -- sits in a mobile operator's network between the radio network controller (RNC) and serving GPRS support node (SGSN), and diverts traffic bound for the Internet away from the mobile data core network and directly to the Internet. Check out Stoke's video explanation here.

By taking some of the data traffic burden off the mobile core, the idea is that operators won't have to invest in additional costly SGSNs or GPRS gateway support nodes (GGSNs) to keep up with data traffic volumes on their networks. Bandwidth-hungry devices such as Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s new iPad shine a glaring spotlight on these data network capacity constraints at mobile operators. (See Will the Apple iPad Crush 3G Networks?)

"The dirty little secret that mobile operators are dealing with [is that] data revenue is growing but the cost to support that infrastructure is greater than the margin they make on that revenue," says Barry Hill, VP of sales and marketing at Stoke. "We provide them with a release valve… to deliver bits more cost-effectively."

Stoke's mobile data offload product runs on its common ATCA platform, which is also the basis for its femtocell security gateway and LTE eNodeB aggregation gateway products.

The vendor says it's close to announcing the first operator to trial the data offload product. It would be surprising if that first customer was not NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), which is not only already using Stoke's femto security gateway and LTE basestation aggregation gateway, but is also a strategic investor. (See Stoke Lands LTE Gig at DoCoMo, Stoke Scores Second DoCoMo Deal, and Stoke Secures $15M Funding.)

The product will be available for trials in April 2010.

Data traffic offload -- and the myriad ways of doing it -- is expected to be a key theme at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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