Feature Article

April 18, 2013

Tekelec Offers Different Take on Monetizing Wi-Fi Offload

Carriers’ keen interest in Wi-Fi offload initially was driven by a desire to minimize congestion on their cellular networks, but they’re also looking to monetize that investment – a topic I wrote about in a previous column a few months ago.

That column drew on two different research reports that explored options such as second-party charging or flexible charging. (Second-party charging is where venues in the vicinity of a hotspot would help cover Wi-Fi costs in exchange for attracting new customers. Flexible charging is where a customer’s carrier Wi-Fi usage would count toward the user’s data allotment but not at the same rate as cellular data.)

Tekelec has a bit different take on all of this, as I learned from a discussion with the company’s director of strategy Mark Ventimiglia in an interview this week. The company is hoping that rather than buying standalone servers to provide ANDSF capability, carriers will opt for an ANDSF solution that is part of a broader policy management platform.

ANDSF is an acronym for access network discovery and selection function, and as Ventimiglia explained, ANDSF is focused on enabling the network to influence whether an end user device connects to the cellular or Wi-Fi network.

Companies offering ANDSF servers include cellular network infrastructure vendors, along with companies such as Amdocs and Openet, Ventimiglia said.

Tekelec aims to offer ANDSF capability as part of an offering the company is calling Mobile Policy Gateway (MPG), currently in trials with customers.  MPG will work as an extension of Tekelec’s policy platform, and use the same user interface. And because its functionality will be broader than that of a standalone ANDSF, Ventimiglia said it will be able to support a variety of new policy-based offerings.

Some of these have the potential to generate new revenue. Others appear aimed more at enhancing customer satisfaction and differentiating a carrier’s service.

Tekelec has gathered eight MPG-based applications together in a white paper called “Policy on the Mobile: New Use Cases that Optimize Devices for the Network and Generate Revenues.” Three of these applications struck me as being particularly compelling – particularly since I hadn’t run across any of them previously.

These include:

  • A capability aimed at minimizing the impact of m2m devices or other applications that generate automated traffic that can sometimes overwhelm network resources. The MPG would direct “bursty” machines such as smart meters to evenly distribute traffic loads and avoid busy hours while prioritizing streaming m2m traffic from critical devices such as health monitors.
  • A mobile payment capability that would automatically move transaction-related traffic to the cellular network. The goal would be to keep subscribers’ financial data off of unsecure networks such as public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Battery life preservation. The MPG would aim to maximize battery performance based on policies that account for device model, the charge remaining in the battery, application usage patterns and network conditions.

Ventimiglia said he’s seen RFIs and RFPs from carriers setting out to obtain some of the capabilities outlined in the Tekelec white paper.

Tekelec’s MPG is targeted for general availability in the fourth quarter, although it’s important to note that not all of the capabilities outlined in the white paper will be available at the time the MPG is released.




Edited by Braden Becker


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