Putting policy control to work

Sue MarekThe growth in smartphones and other wirelessly enabled devices is causing mobile broadband usage to escalate. And while this trend equates to strong data revenue growth, it also has placed capacity constraints on networks that can't handle the additional data demands. 

To solve this issue, some operators are re-evaluating their unlimited data usage business models and implementing tiered price plans. But analysts say that these steps are minor compared with the potential business models that policy control tools may unleash. 

Policy controls are part of the back-office systems of the network, and can help operators create sophisticated pricing packages that let families slice and dice their data usage or use personal preferences to create customized services and applications. 

Although policy control tools are available for today's 3G networks, most experts say that policy control is an afterthought for operators and therefore we may not see more sophisticated use of policy control until carriers deploy their LTE networks. What likely will be the first iterations of policy control? Tiered pricing packages will probably be the mainstay for awhile, but eventually we will see policy control 2.0 techniques, which include real-time transactions and the ability to activate or de-activate new services on the fly.

Whatever the implementation, policy control tools will certainly be a hot topic of discussion in the months and possibly years ahead as more operators migrate from 3G to 4G. To help you understand more about policy control, FierceWireless produced the ebook, "Policy Control: Tools for the next-generation network." This ebook provides a deep-dive into all the various aspects of policy control--from the potential that it holds to the possible problems and issues operators may face. --Sue