Despite the multimillion pound budgets that are being allocated to 4G, many geographical areas lack effective coverage. Network operators are struggling to predict income streams and therefore how to prioritise their spend.
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There will be a new revenue stream in providing 4G networks in rural or less well served communities to fill the gap in fixed-line broadband provision. Managed service providers are already seeing growing interest in this area. However, the main emphasis for operators must be on creating 4G services that deliver quantifiable value and business benefits to commercial and corporate customers.
In this emerging market, there is a reducing margin for error in the provision of quality of service. This is a key area that service providers must deliver on with 4G. They must manage, monitor and deliver a consistently high quality of service – they cannot afford to recreate the complicated, poorly integrated monitoring solutions that failed to scale in 3G networks.
There is no way of creating a compelling offering without exploiting the new data resources that are available. With the complexity in network topology that will be created by the addition of 4G networks, operators require not only a totally integrated solution, but one that enables component parts to be swapped in and out to exploit innovation in data capture, mining and diagnosis.
It is only through the implementation of a complete solution that operators can gain the insight into network performance and customer behaviour required to drive new revenues and, critically, create a flexible business model that can evolve rapidly in response to the new data landscape. This new approach will also incorporate new financing and delivery models as operators move to opex-based models, delivered via partnerships with managed service providers and cloud providers.
Neil Cornish is managing director at M7 Managed Services