Mobile Broadband: Not So Plug And Play

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28th April 2009, 11:13pm - Views: 856

Science Information Technology WDSGlobal 1 image

Mobile Broadband: Not so Plug and Play

POOLE, Apr. 28 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

    - Cost of Supporting Mobile Broadband is Eroding Subscriber Profitability

Warns WDSGlobal. 

    - Mobile Broadband Products 200% More Expensive to Support Than Mobile


    Mobile broadband services are more expensive to support than any other

wireless service and are endangering subscriber profitability for many mobile

network operators concludes a new study from WDSGlobal. The study found that

the cost to support mobile broadband products and services is up to 200%

greater than the cost to support traditional wireless products such as mobile

phones. This means that despite revenue uplift from increased data usage,

actual subscriber profitability often remains unchanged and sometimes even


    The area of greatest concern came from USB and PC Card modems.

These are sold to allow subscribers access to a mobile operator's 3G HSPA or

EV-DO mobile broadband services from a laptop or netbook. The average

duration of a technical support call for such products is 28 minutes. By

comparison, a technical support call for a mobile phone averages just less

than 10 minutes.

    The findings come from analysis of more than half a million

'technical' support enquiries. More than 600 wireless devices were

represented in the study, which spanned a six-month period between September

2008 and February 2009. Of the bottom 20 mobile devices ranked by Average

Handle Time (the duration of a support call), 13 were USB or PC Card modems.

    The problem, WDSGlobal suggests, is not always with the

technology itself but the necessity for these products to be installed

alongside third party hardware and software outside of a mobile operator's


    "Traditional wireless products are largely in the control of

the network operator; it's their SIM card, they sold the handset and it's

attached to their network. Mobile broadband introduces the need to manage a

wireless product on a third-party device such as a laptop. You have to

contend with hardware performance and conflicts, driver incompatibility and

buggy software. Diagnosis and fault resolution therefore becomes more

complex, negatively impacting support times. Add to this the fact that many

products have not been adequately tested prior to launch, and the result is

an expensive burden on existing support infrastructures," explains David

Ffoulkes-Jones, CEO of WDSGlobal.

    The study also cites 'aggressive' connection management

software (the software bundled with the modem) as a key cause of user

frustration. During several test cases, installation software looked to make

registry edits deep within the PC's operating system. Most popular anti-virus

applications immediately blocked the installation, classifying it as a

security threat. In other cases, connection management software looked to

hijack control of all network connections, overwriting user's existing

configurations and impeding WiFi access.

Science Information Technology WDSGlobal 2 image

    The cost of handling customer care and support calls has an

immediate bearing on subscriber profitability because it forms part of the

cost of maintaining a subscriber on a network. Therefore, it's imperative for

mobile network operators to better manage the process of testing, launching

and supporting mobile broadband services concludes WDSGlobal.

    "This problem is not unique; new products and services are

introduced to generate greater ARPU (average revenue per user). However, the

increased complexity of these services means that the cost to support them

often increases, impacting subscriber profitability," adds Ffoulkes-Jones.

"There are enormous opportunities for mobile broadband in 2009. However

mobile network operators must be able to deliver new products and services to

market profitably and in a way that meets their end-users' expectations for

service and quality. Many mobile broadband services are marketed as plug and

play. However, as a company that provides technical support services to the

mobile industry, we know that this isn't always the case."

    A full copy of the study, including average handle times for

most major modem manufacturers, can be downloaded for free at

    About the Study

    WDSGlobal audited 635,971 in-bound support calls (technical,

tier 3 support calls) between September 2008 and February 2009. Only devices

that presented more than 50 support enquiries during this period were

included. In total 698 mobile products are included; averaging 911 support

enquiries per product. To protect WDSGlobal customer confidentiality, totals

for Average Handle Time have been averaged across all networks.

    About WDSGlobal

    WDSGlobal is dedicated to helping mobile operators, handset manufacturers

and service providers deliver more profitable products and services to

end-users. From handset validation and readiness testing to mobile device

management and end-user support, WDSGlobal offers the industry's most

complete solution for the management of end-users, devices and services.

    To find out more, please visit

    SOURCE: WDSGlobal


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