Mobile operators must get mobile broadband strategy right

Referring to a potential backlash from mobile operators looking to avoid penalties under European Union roaming measures, operators have been warned not ban customers from downloading data while abroad.

AdaptiveMobile, a security provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals, has recommended that mobile operators think hard about their strategies, and not punish end users for EU rules.

This follows the European Union’s threat to impose legal measures to make operators cut the amount they charge their mobile broadband customers for roaming on overseas networks, which has made some operators consider banning all customers from downloading data through their mobile broadband service while abroad to avoid getting involved in a high profile legal wrangle.

AdaptiveMobile argues that operators taking a simplistic view to blocking subscribers’ mobile broadband usage while abroad run the risk of losing the significant revenues promised by mobile broadband subscribers willing to pay for a high quality roaming service.

Gareth Maclachlan, COO at AdaptiveMobile, commented: “Whilst operators understandably don’t want to be perceived as trying to unfairly glean excess revenues from unwitting subscribers while abroad, taking a one size fits all approach blocking their usage while abroad will result in them losing very significant revenues, at a time when you would expect them to be looking to maximise their 3G network

investments. Even though there is the suggestion that subscribers would be able to lift the block, for a high proportion, this would be too disruptive and operators would never maximise their average revenue per user.

“Operators need to take better control of their network assets, so that they can offer a bespoke service to each user on a case by case basis. In this way, they can not only control subscribers’ mobile broadband usage in the UK and abroad, but also the type of content that is being delivered over their network to the user, in terms of blocking spam and viruses, and in the case of vulnerable users, inappropriate or intimidating messages and imagery. They should also make steps to better protect roaming users from unnecessary data usage, such as application and operating system updates, which can be upto 500Mb in size and in many cases are downloaded without user knowledge,” he continued.

Maclachlan said that in a competitive European market, where operators are increasingly trying to differentiate their service and the many millions of corporate subscribers are becoming increasingly international, operators have no choice but to ensure they maximise all mobile broadband revenue opportunities whilst offering subscribers the best possible service.

AdaptiveMobile’s Policy Control Framework is used by tier one mobile operators globally, sits on the network and protects subscribers against illegal or inappropriate content, unsolicited or unauthorised communications, preventing it reaching the network.