The post is by Eyal Hilzenrat, Vice President of Product & Marketing at Flash Networks.
For some in the industry network neutrality has been the ‘Holy Grail’ for a long time, with subscribers wanting equal access to all content and applications without favouring particular websites. However, with the increase in network congestion and with companies like Netflix complaining that operators are responsible for poor network performance while streaming content from their site, I began to wonder if subscribers might be open to the concept of priority delivery for the faster delivery of premium mobile content.
We sent a team to the LTE World Summit to poll mobile operators and subscribers and find out if they were open to premium services. Our survey revealed that over 70 per cent of respondents think operators should be allowed to prioritize premium content for faster delivery. We polled both subscribers and mobile operators to uncover quality of experience trends at the international event. 69 per cent of operators and, more surprisingly, 74 per cent of respondents who were not operators (subscribers) think that mobile operators should be allowed to offer a fast lane connection to premium content providers.
Our survey also revealed that although 84 per cent of subscribers believe that operators are responsible for video stalls and buffers, only 63 per cent of operators claim responsibility for an unsatisfactory quality of experience. However, 80 per cent of operators already optimize or plan to optimize video and data to adapt to network conditions. These responses suggest that while operators are reluctant to admit responsibility, they recognize that video quality is vital to customer satisfaction.
Compared with last year’s survey, there was a significant decrease in the percentage of operators who felt that their network was “Super fast – 20Mpbs download throughput” (48 per cent in 2013 versus 31 per cent in 2014), leading 75 per cent of operators this year to report that they already accelerate or plan to implement an acceleration solution within the next year. These results reflect both a higher bar for 4G network speeds and operators’ concerns about their ability to provide their users with the best possible quality of experience while managing the rapid increase in mobile data traffic.
Furthermore, 58 per cent of subscribers revealed that speed is a deciding factor in choosing an LTE network, second only to coverage, and not surprisingly, 97 per cent think operators should invest in accelerating LTE networks.
Similar to last year our survey results also demonstrated that operators recognize the need for mobile video and data optimization to stay competitive, and are continuously looking for acceleration technologies to enable them to speed up their LTE networks, and ultimately provide a better experience for subscribers.