Surviving In An Age of Worker-Driven Mobile Management
Internet-enabled mobile devices have certainly earned their disruptive technology credentials in recent years, redefining consumer habits and asking new questions to IT managers and telecommunication providers in the process. With the mobile population expanding by leaps and bounds, data consumption is quickly becoming the unavoidable issue in mobile device management and network infrastructure planning.
At a recent press briefing, Ericsson president and CEO Hans Vestberg put into perspective the massive challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the mobile arena.
“In 2008, there were 4 billion mobile subscriptions. By 2017, there will be close to 9 billion subscriptions,” Vestberg explained. “With this kind of mobility and connectivity everywhere, there will be no differentiation between a business user and a private user.”
In his company’s role as telecommunications provider, Vestberg suggested that network quality, user experience, mobile billing models and service offerings will all be forced to evolve in light of a massive surge in data consumption and variation in traffic type.
For enterprise IT managers trying to control corporate wireless spend, developments related to payment models must be followed closely. Telecoms around the world are already experimenting with new ways of sustaining revenues without sacrificing network quality and user experience, and a few promising strategies could soon be fast-tracked for implementation.
In a recent study conducted by Vestberg’s colleagues from Ericsson ConsumerLab, consumers from the United States, U.K., Indonesia and Brazil provided telecom executives with some food for thought. Among more than 2,300 respondents, more than 40 percent indicated they would access the mobile internet more frequently if they had access to better speeds. This reinforces the notion that mobile Web traffic is only set to expand and that wireless providers could find lucrative returns on investment if they decide to upgrade infrastructure for speed.
Some surprising responses were received, however, when consumers were asked to rank their priorities when choosing a wireless plan. Network quality and coverage were ranked ahead of data service pricing, suggesting they would be willing to pay for premium capabilities.
Interestingly enough, easy-to-understand contracts rounded out the top three priorities when signing up for services. Wireless expense management has been a point of frustration for consumers and enterprise IT teams for some time now, but these respondents suggest that subscribers may finally be deciding that enough is enough with hidden charges and confusing clauses.
Taken together, these insights could shape some intriguing new strategies from telecoms, Ericsson analysts suggested. For instance, there may be a more granular focus on how customers are using their devices so that they can take advantage of unlimited data plans related to essential tasks, whereas providers can offer more differentiated pricing for complementary features.
Nevertheless, the fact that telecoms are rethinking the way they structure and provide services is good news for both the end-user and enterprise IT administrators. With the line between personal and business use evaporating as Vestberg predicted, employees will be empowered to adopt a more proactive role in their company’s mobility intelligence. But it is up to companies to ensure workers are making informed decisions and remain allies, not enemies, of cost controlling strategies.