Mobile data services will soon begin to cannibalise voice quality

Mobile data services will soon begin to cannibalise voice quality but it doesn’t have to be this way, says Mesaplexx.

O2 has admitted that a UK-wide 4G network is years rather than months away, further adding to the debate around the predicted mobile ‘capacity crunch’. Ofcom’s recent announcement regarding the 2012 spectrum auction has propelled the issue of network capacity into the mainstream media. However, for mobile network operators the question of spectrum availability has been at the forefront of their concerns for some time.

The initial answer, offered up almost unanimously, yet hotly contested, was to put an end to unlimited data packages. This resolves the short term issue but also serves to alienate potential users at a time when operators need to be looking to build loyalty among consumers.

Longer term solutions such as 4G now look to be further away than expected so what can mobile operators do to ensure continued quality service?

Mark Bole, CEO of pioneering radio spectrum optimisation company, Mesaplexx, outlines the alternatives: “The issue here is that if something isn’t done to improve the capacity of mobile networks, it will not just be data services impacted. The reality is that, as a result of data services uptake, we are increasingly going to see basic services affected – more dropped calls and deteriorating voice quality – all adding to consumer dissatisfaction.

A minority of high data users are causing network congestion – just 10 per cent of users according to ByteMobile earlier this month – which is negatively impacting the majority of subscribers’ voice and data experience.

“To deliver high bandwidth data services that meet consumer expectations, operators are looking to solutions such as spectrum re-farming, network sharing and Wi-Fi offloading. Each of these approaches must be optimised to minimise the impact on existing services and user experience, whilst maximising ROI.”