Bridgewater scores data offloading contract wins

Bridgewater Systems unveiled a new data offloading services suite as well as a radio access network congestion solution. This is another example of how data offloading has  become a major theme at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The policy control company said that four Tier 1 operators in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region had chosen its data offloading services. David Sharpley, Bridgewater's senior vice president of marketing and product management, declined to name the operators, but said that there was tremendous momentum on data offloading and that the topic would "steal the show" this week.

Indeed, carriers are facing an ever-rising tide of mobile data traffic. Last week, networking vendor Cisco Systems predicted a 39-fold increase in mobile data traffic from 2009 to 2014. Bridgewater's new offloading solutions re-authenticates and re-authorizes subscribers as they move from the 3G network to a WiFi hotspot, femtocell or a 4G network connection. It also applies real-time network, application and subscriber policies to manage mobile data traffic growth.

Sharpley said the cost of wireless backhaul, linking towers to the core network and gateway capacity was weighing on opertors. "This has actually moved from our perspective from a pure market analysis activity in the last 90 days to where operators are intensely focused," he told FierceWireless.

Shannon Bell, director of product marketing at Bridgewater, said the company has seen operator "requirements evolve very quickly from a very basic offload case to a more sophisticated offload case," involving policy controls, where operators can decide which specific kinds of applications get offloaded. 

"I don't think its going to be a panacea into itself but it's going to be a major contributor," Sharpley said, adding that carriers need to optimize RAN, backhaul connections and their core network. "They need to be looking at all of them," he said.

The company is also zeroing in on RAN optimization as part of its service suite. The new solution receives dynamic cell site information from congestion probes, usage analyzers, and Deep Packet Inspection, as well as a database in which carriers can identify subscribers on congested cell sites, and get their usage information. Operators can then adjust service levels as needed to handle congestion.

Bridgewater said this kind of solution could allow carrier to use usage-based pricing models, and keep customers loyal by allowing carriers to prioritize subscribers' service based on service plans, customer value, personal preferences or the application they are using.

The company also said that Mobily, a Saudi Arabian operator with 14.8 million subscribers, had selected its service and policy solutions for its WiMAX and WiFi networks. Bridgewater will be working with Samsung, Mobily's infrastructure partner.    

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