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Abstract

With the recent explosion of mobile data traffic, it is becoming clear that “unlimited” data usage plans are financially unsustainable. In order to wean subscribers away from these plans without serious customer dissatisfaction, there is a need to create data plans at different price levels, consistently with subscriber needs for data volume, quality of experience, and usage characteristics. The technical and financial challenges of implementing such plans are multi-faceted—the impact of outdated network equipment, legacy handsets, and over-the-top applications all contribute to additional network costs, which need to be minimized. In this paper, we introduce an analytical model to investigate the economic impact of incentivizing off-peak capacity usage—since network cost is driven by peak capacity, reduction of peak demand brings corresponding cost savings. We then present policy and quality of service (QoS) mechanisms to implement traffic shaping with off-peak usage incentives, so that operators can manage and monetize the explosion of mobile data. © 2011 Alcatel-Lucent.