LAS VEGAS--Nokia Siemens Networks announced it will launch a smartphone testing lab to get a better handle on how the gadgets interact with current 3G networks and what their impact will be on LTE networks.
The labs will study how consumers use smartphones, and will analyze mobile data traffic patterns. The vendor already has a lab up and running in Finland, and is examining devices, operating systems and applications for HSPA/HSPA+ networks. The company will open a similar lab in Dallas this summer, which will focus on LTE.
Sue Spradley, the head of Nokia Siemens' North American region, said the key aim of the labs is to address the increased strain smartphones put on networks. In a wide-ranging interview with FierceWireless, Spradley said such knowledge will be critical to developing LTE networks.
"We have to drive the need and experience around 4G, and make sure we get the networks to perform the way customers want them to, otherwise 4G will have a very slow take-up rate," she said.
The Evolved Packet Core will be a main element of this effort, she said, as it will be used for advanced subscriber data management. Once carriers better understand how and when subscribers are using mobile data, they will be able to target their pricing and marketing toward those specific use-cases. However, she noted carriers will have to be careful in how they use and collect that subscriber data "to not allow it to be used the wrong way."
Spradley also addressed one of the most contentious issues surrounding mobile data: whether (or when) carriers will move toward usage-based pricing. She said the industry is shifting that way, and as it shifts, access to mobile broadband will become less important than the intelligence about what subscribers are using it for. She likened the wireless industry to the airline industry, and said that if one carrier decides on a "pricing scheme and it works, they can roll the others" into following suit. "Someone will be a pioneer there," she said.
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