& cplSiteName &

Alcatel-Lucent Puts Apps on 3G 'Watch List'

Sarah Thomas
4/30/2014
50%
50%

The mobile applications driving the most data traffic and signaling on 3G networks are the ones you'd expect -- the most popular video and social media apps -- but those that could soon become culprits are not the usual suspects.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is putting these apps that have a high cost per user, defined as their average volume and signaling per user across sample networks, on a "watch list" because an increase in popularity could send them into the "naughty" quadrant of high-impact apps. Those apps include Tango, Nimbuzz, Palringo, Office 365, Zynga, Netflix, Pandora, Pinterest, Facebook Channel, Kik, and Skype.

Alcatel-Lucent says the way these apps are designed and used creates a heavy load on the network, device batteries, and data plans. Pandora, for example, has only a 1% share of subscribers, but is among the top 20 apps in terms of network impact.

These are apps that wireless operators will want to keep an eye on, but there's a number of apps that are already causing them heartburn. Alcatel-Lucent's name-and-shame awards go to:

  • Highest network impact on bandwidth and signaling (how often the app pings the network to receive data): Google Search, Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and YouTube
  • Highest data volume impact: iTunes, Instagram, Pinterest, Apple Maps and Pandora
  • Top battery drainers: Nimbuzz, Yahoo Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Viber, and Palringo
  • Top data plan guzzlers: YouTube, Netflix, Facebook Video, Pandora, and Instagram Video

Apps Behaving Badly
AlcaLu maps out the network impact of the top 39 apps based on the amount of volume they drive and their signaling chatter on the network.
AlcaLu maps out the network impact of the top 39 apps based on the amount of volume they drive and their signaling chatter on the network.

This is the first time Alcatel-Lucent has conducted a study of this size using data collected from its Wireless Network Guardian software that measure signaling and data volume impact from apps used by 15 million subscribers on 3G networks in North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.

It did also look at LTE networks, but Josee Loudiadis, AlcaLu's director of network intelligence, says the network data varied so much that no averages could be found. She attributes the wide differences to how far along LTE rollouts were, how 4G was priced, and cultural variances. In general, however, the trends tend to mirror the 3G networks but with more of everything, especially signaling. (See MW13: Tekelec Warns of VoLTE Signaling Storm and LTE Signaling Woes Ahead?)

It's easy to see why network operators should care about these apps: They affect their networks and their customers' experiences (and they'll probably take the blame). But what they can do about it? Loudiadis suggests a few things:

  • Plead with apps developers to reduce signaling in their app updates, that is, if they can get them to care. (See Operators Urge Action Against Chatty Apps.)
  • Optimize traffic during peak hours.
  • Track apps and degrade their performance when they exceed typical volume levels.
  • Integrate analytics with customer care to help resolve data usage and low battery life call.
  • Find the low-impact apps and strike a zero-rating deal to optimize and promote them free to users, waters into which some operators such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) are just starting to dip a toe. (See AT&T Toll-Free Data: Innovation or Rip-Off?)

"Zynga, for example, is a low-impact app," Loudiadis says. "Its per-subscriber cost is still high on the data side, so why not connect with Zynga and package them with a data plan? Why don't I say, 'give me a low-res version of your file to have less data traveling. You can change the resolution on the screen depending on the device screen size, and do things to help reduce of impact of the app."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(22)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/2/2014 | 3:30:42 PM
Re: Three more surprises
Josee - Thanks for clarifying that. Yes, I was surprised to see Hotmail, AOLmail on the list. But as you say, once people are using a service many don't move on until and unless they must. 

Heck, I know people who still use LiveJournal. And not tech dummies either -- one of them runs his own mail and web server out of his home. They found something that works, and they stick with it. 
Josee Loudiadis
50%
50%
Josee Loudiadis,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/2/2014 | 2:19:08 PM
Re: YouTube and Skype are not topping the list
The traffic included in the Google category truly is just searches. Once the user clicks a link (to say, Amazon), that traffic is not longer associated with Google since it is served by Amazon's servers. The only interesting twist is that searches can be done via APIs that Google published. So software can query Google and get their results via this API. That traffic is included in Google search: it is a search, but without humans eye balls on it. It is mind boggling that we generate so much traffic searching for information. What did we ever do before the internet and search engines?!
Josee Loudiadis
50%
50%
Josee Loudiadis,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/1/2014 | 5:49:19 PM
Re: light on device
In the Facebook example provided in the report, Facebook did not know it had increase the overall signaling in service provider networks with its new software version.  Also, the service provider would have know that signaling increased, but not what contributed to the increase.  And if it did, most operators don't have the correlated data to help Facebook pinpoint with app version (Android, iOS, ...) contributed the most to the spike.  Meanwhile, consumers are not aware that their battery life is affected by apps.  Consumers know they can tweak their mail app configuration for reduced data consumption, but don't know (or have very few options) on how to tweak their messaging apps.  So the crux of it is: lots of blind spots for app dev, operators and consumers.

It was the availability of network analitics data, an article in Analytics Beat (http://www2.alcatel-lucent.com/analytics-beat/), Facebook's desire to optimize their app for mobile users that triggered to optimization cycle.   It is my hope that exposing this kind of analysis will help educate all mobile stakeholders and enable further collaboration between parties. 

@joseeloudiadis
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
5/1/2014 | 4:12:41 PM
Re: Three more surprises
Thanks for weighing in, JL. That's funny that "once-popular apps die a slow death." I guess it's similar to what we talked about before, Mitch, about Yahoo. Obviously people are still using it and these other email services!
Josee Loudiadis
50%
50%
Josee Loudiadis,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/1/2014 | 3:37:41 PM
Re: Three more surprises
To make it into the study, an app had to be in the top 20 apps on at least one network. Siri did not appear in the top 20, nor Google Now. But surprisingly, we saw hotmail, AOLMail and Live Messenger!  We did a double take - were these apps not replaced by other more modern ones (Hotmail with Outlook.com and Live Messenger with Skype)? 

It turns out that once popular apps die a slow death. Outlook.com and Skype are tracked separately from Hotmail and Live Messenger. We verified that the traffic did in fact reach these different servers. Outlook.com is growing but did not reach the top 20, while Skype and Live Messenger made the list.
mikael1978
50%
50%
mikael1978,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/1/2014 | 3:09:08 PM
Re: YouTube and Skype are not topping the list
Google Instant (search as you type) probably creates a lot of traffic. On iOS Bing is now the default search engine ... in Siri. I think it's still Google in Safari, isn't it? There are talks about switching to Yahoo.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/1/2014 | 2:45:20 PM
Three more surprises
Siri is missing from the chart entirely. Did AlcaLu simply not include it, or is the network usage negligible. 

Same for Google Now. 

And AOL Mail shows up. Hello, 1998!

Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/1/2014 | 2:42:54 PM
Re: light on device
Facebook might have enough incentive to fix the app if enough users go in and turn off background operation. That would limit Facebook's ability to harvest signals on where people are and what they're doing when Facebook isn't running. 

But I don't see a significant number of users fiddling with their settings in that fasion. Instead, the users will simply complain that their battery drains too fast. 
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/30/2014 | 5:09:31 PM
Re: YouTube and Skype are not topping the list
@Sarah: Google search is mostly text (I have not seen many people using the voice search feature). Its one way traffic. It's highly compressed. It's not running on Windows, iPhones and iPad by default. The follow-up usage is done in browser. Is it that all browser activity in Android is taken as Google search. After all the browser URL bar acts as the search field.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/30/2014 | 5:04:08 PM
Re: light on device
I think @FakeMitchWagner makes a good point. It's easy to name and shame but at the end of the day it wont cause anybody to change their app behaviour.

I think carriers need to target this from 2 angles:

1. work with the OS providers to create more efficient API's inside the OS's with associated documentation for the developers to leverage things like improved signalling, etc.

2. A deeper workaround is to create alternatives. If signaling is such an issue, then maybe its time carriers use and expose the signalling channel to allow 3rd party developers to wake up their apps on demand instead of always on and pinging.

Compression is a whole other can of worms, but can also be addressed by exposing real-time network charachteristics as well as a dynamic version of peak and non-peak pricing that is based on real-time local network congestion.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
,
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments


Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/22/2016
'Most Wanted' Kobi Comes Home
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 8/23/2016
Rocket Fiber Lights Up Detroit With Gigabit
Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, 8/22/2016
Arista Banned From Importing Products – Cisco
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/23/2016
How the Padres Hit an IoT Home Run
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.