The policy control specialists are vying for attention ahead of Mobile World Congress, with talk of growth, funding, and extra smarts

February 12, 2010

5 Min Read
MWC Preview: Policy Vendors Strut Their Stuff

With Mobile World Congress only days away, some of the sector's leading policy control specialists are strutting their stuff and vying for attention, confident (with some justification) that service and subscriber management issues will be hot stuff in Barcelona. (See Anticipating Mobile World Congress 2010.)

And why is it a hot topic? Policy control, and its role in service and subscriber management, has emerged as one of the key talking points in the wireless industry in the past year or so as the mobile operators find themselves: dealing with growing volumes of data traffic and pressured margins; needing to keep ramping up their customer experience management capabilities in an increasingly competitive market; and wanting to become more agile, and even proactive (!!!), as new applications and services become available to their customers. (See Policy Players Prosper and Policy Matters to Mobile Broadband Operators.)

And while policy control capabilities don't answer all of the operators' needs, they go a long way towards providing them with some of the key capabilities they need as they expand their data services businesses.

All of which makes policy control a key Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) capability. (See The SPIT Manifesto, Analysts: SPIT Is Hot Stuff, and Putting SPIT in Focus.)

For more, check out our new Light Reading TV interview with Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie: Policy Matters to Mobile.

So who (in no particular order, before the squabbling starts...) is shouting about what?

  • Irish software vendor Openet Telecom Ltd. hit the newswires with a double-whammy, boasting about a record year of sales (up 50 percent from 2008) and announcing a $10.5 million new round of financing. (See Openet Touts Stellar Growth and Openet Raises $10.5M.)

    It's believed Openet, which recently landed a deal with U.S. mobile operator Cricket Communications Inc. and partner Sandvine Inc. , generated revenues of €31 million (US$42.6 million) in 2008, putting its 2009 revenues at more than €46 million ($63.3 million). (See Cricket Picks Sandvine.)

    Openet will be showing off its FusionWorks suite of capabilities, including its Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) solution, at MWC. (See Openet Tackles Service Control.)

  • Bridgewater Systems Corp. (Toronto: BWC), which claims to be the policy control market leader in terms of the number of subscribers "managed" by its PCRF software, is planning to unveil at least one new product (a data offload solution) at the show, according to industry gossip. (See MWC Preview: Data Offload to the Rescue.)

    The Canadian company will also be touting the latest enhancements to its Policy Controller, namely its support for new requirements defined in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 's Release 9 specifications that enable "real-time, multi-service metering based on application usage." (See Bridgewater Upgrades Controller.)

    The company's VP of marketing, David Sharpley, believes carriers look to the focused vendors, rather than the large equipment vendors, to deliver such advances as quickly as possible. "The carriers like to deal with the smaller specialists, because that's where they feel the innovation is coming from," he tells Light Reading.

    Bridgewater, which generated revenues of C$45.9 million (US$43.6 million) during the first nine months of 2009, will also be highlighting some new research into the methods used to alleviate data traffic congestion in mobile networks and talking up the company's Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployment in the U.S. (See Bridgewater Unveils Opex Savings Report, MetroPCS Polices LTE With Bridgewater, and Bridgewater Reports Q3.)

  • Camiant Inc. has been busy, too, announcing interoperability between its PCRF platform and Blueslice Networks Inc. 's Subscription Profile Repository (SPR) database and Home Subscriber Server (HSS). The two companies intend to market a joint PCRF/HSS solution to LTE carriers. (See Camiant, Blueslice Team Up.)

    The Marlborough, Mass.-based vendor has also been boasting of an unidentified LTE customer, and talking up the number of fixed and mobile customers connected to its Multimedia Policy Engine. It stresses that its PCRF is compliant with 3GPP Release 9 and is housed on an ATCA platform. (See Camiant Touts Success, LTE Deal and Camiant Boasts Mobile Operator Deal.)

    Hmm... 3GPP compliance, LTE customer, deployment growth... Could Camiant and Bridgewater be fierce rivals, d'ya think? Answers on a multimedia mobile postcard, please.

  • BroadHop Inc. has just unveiled its Quantum Network Suite, which, it says, enables carriers to develop their own new applications for the platform, in addition to providing the usual range of policy control capabilities. (See BroadHop Unveils New Policy Platform.)

    The Denver-based vendor, which claims more than 60 service provider customers, and which raised $4.25 million in new funding in August 2009, is one of an increasing number of companies hosting their Mobile World Congress meetings off-site. (See Nokia Goes Solo in Barcelona.)

  • Allot Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALLT), which is one of a growing number of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) vendors that also offer policy control capabilities as part of their solution sets, is heading to Barcelona with a new pumped-up platform and some interesting data on mobile traffic trends. (See Allot Goes 360-Gig and DPI Vendors Eye Integration.)

    The Israeli firm, which has just reported full year 2009 revenues of $41.8 million, says its most recent "MobileTrends: Global Mobile Broadband Traffic Report," for the six months to the end of December last year, "indicates that worldwide mobile data bandwidth usage has increased significantly by approximately 72 percent during the second half of 2009. Over-the-top applications such as YouTube and Skype are driving this continued momentum in mobile broadband growth." (See Allot IDs MobileTrends.)

    Those apps -– they are soooo over the top!

    The vendor, which collates the data using its NetXplorer platform, also noted that "HTTP streaming continues to be the fastest growing application with a 99 percent increase; its global mobile broadband share grew by 50 percent between Q2 and Q4, 2009."

    Other pre-MWC news in the policy control realm includes:

    • ZTE Does IMS 6.0

    • Openwave Digs Deep at MWC

    • Napatech Shows Off at MWC

    • Vedicis Integrates Qosmos

    • NTT Picks Sandvine

    • Comptel Launches Control & Charge

    • Andrew Debuts Policy Server

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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