It is some time since the telecoms world has seen growth figures and forecasts that match those of LTE. According to recent research from the GSA, LTE network roll outs stand at 76 percent per annum. 274 networks have been launched in 101 countries. On the back of this LTE enabled device growth stands at over 90 percent.
Such growth is obviously unsustainable – and does not need to be – but is pulling other opportunities and markets along with it. One such is policy management, which is now a $1 billion market, according to research by Infonetics. They forecast that this will be $2.5 billion by 2018 and that, not surprisingly, mobile will drive most of the growth.
Although growth in developed markets is slowing, Shira Levine, directing analyst at Infonetics sees that “momentum continues in emerging markets in regions such as Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, where the competitive environment is often intense and growing smartphone adoption is driving mobile broadband consumption.”
There are two interesting ‘top line’ findings from the Infonetics report. One is that operators are implementing policy management to ensure Quality of Service (QoS) for Voice over LTE (VoLTE).
The other is that fixed line operators are looking at policy management to design more innovative pricing plans and service models. And Levine believes that this demand will be helped by the net neutrality debate. Perhaps not surprisingly is that shared data plans – in whatever guise they appear – will also drive the demand for policy management, as will the increase in focus on the virtualisation of the network.
What is encouraging is that we seem to be (almost) in a world where networks are not simply faster, bigger, better but more intelligent too. LTE will certainly bring its own share of unforeseen problems – already in the US, customers who never before hit their usage ceiling are now hitting them on a regular basis – but if it is rolled out in conjunction with policy management and other real-time tools then there is a chance that customer demand will truly be met.