ST. LOUIS -- Amdocs, the leading provider of customer experience systems and services, today released the findings of a global survey that explores the current state of service provider Wi-Fi deployments and analyses service provider perspectives on the strategic importance of Wi-Fi control and monetisation. The research, conducted for Amdocs by global research and consultancy firm Analysys Mason, found that service differentiation is now viewed as the top driver for Wi-Fi – ahead of Wi-Fi data offloading – and that discovering new and innovative ways to monetise Wi-Fi is becoming a top priority for service providers.
Key survey findings:
Wi-Fi is critical to service provider growth strategies: eighty-nine percent of all service providers surveyed (including fixed, mobile and cable) have either deployed, or plan to deploy or leverage, Wi-Fi networks. On average, respondents ranked Wi-Fi's importance as 7+ out of 10, underscoring the strategic value of Wi-Fi for service provider growth.
Service differentiation is the top driver for Wi-Fi. Forty percent of service providers cited service differentiation as the #1 driver for their Wi-Fi strategies, indicating that operators expect Wi-Fi to be more than a solution for simply offloading congested networks and are interested in using it to provide incremental value to their customers.
A seamless experience is considered strategically important, but authentication issues are viewed as the top technical barrier to deploying Wi-Fi: providing a seamless subscriber experience between cellular and Wi-Fi networks was weighted strongly (average score: 8.1 out of 10) by service providers, which suggests that they view a high-quality customer experience across 3G/4G/Wi-Fi as a top priority. However, user authentication ranked highest among the top technical barriers to deploying Wi-Fi, highlighting the importance of flexible and secure authentication in achieving a seamless experience.
Wi-Fi roaming is a priority for service providers – on average, Wi-Fi roaming – while still a relatively immature market -- was ranked 8 out of 10 in terms of strategic importance.
New monetisation models needed: Fifty-seven percent of service providers who have deployed Wi-Fi claim they are monetising their offerings, but the survey also found that many of them are looking for innovative models that go beyond directly charging customers (who typically equate Wi-Fi with free Internet access). These findings suggest that operator business cases for Wi-Fi services are underdeveloped.
First-mover advantage is critical: capturing key strategic locations for Wi-Fi hotpots before they are claimed by competitors is a key objective for many service providers. Even "build-only" service providers will need to partner to capture these key sites.
"Our research shows that while the service provider Wi-Fi market is still in its early stages, service providers are adopting a forward-looking attitude that goes beyond using regular Wi-Fi to offload congested 3G and 4G networks," said Chris Nicoll, principal analyst at Analysys Mason. "While offload is still a priority, it's clear that service providers are looking to service provider Wi-Fi as a competitive differentiator, and there is strong interest in exploring new and innovative business models for Wi-Fi monetisation."
"Service providers are now focusing on service differentiation, customer experience and monetisation in Wi-Fi," said Rebecca Prudhomme, Amdocs vice president for product and solutions marketing. "This underscores the importance of having secure, scalable authentication and authorisation solutions in place for ensuring a seamless experience as customers move in and out of the Wi-Fi network. Furthermore, real-time policy control opens up new opportunities for Wi-Fi monetisation by allowing service providers to offer a range of differentiated services over Wi-Fi, such as tiered services and premium quality of service."
Amdocs authentication and policy control solutions enable service providers to introduce Wi-Fi services to their customers quickly and cost effectively, with secure, carrier-grade network access, 3G/4G offload capabilities that ensure a transparent subscriber access experience across networks, and real-time policy control for monetising innovative Wi-Fi services.
The survey is based on quantitative research by Analysys Mason involving telephone interviews with decision-makers at more than 30 service providers globally, including North America, Caribbean and Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The research was conducted in October 2012.
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.
During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.
She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.