Mobile Internet Applications and Services

Multi-Device Plans: Offer Shared Mobile Data Allowances for Multiple Devices

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Although laptops and netbooks continue to generate the most mobile data traffic, high-end smartphones and newer device categories such as tablets are beginning to account for a significant portion of the traffic, according to the Cisco ® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast. The predominant approach is for operators to offer subscribers separate mobile data plans for each device, but there is growing pressure to offer multi-device mobile data plans, especially as devices such as tablets, e-book readers, and gaming devices are often considered to be secondary devices by users. Because these secondary devices typically support Wi-Fi connections, many users forgo the cost of subscribing to a separate 3G or 4G data contract. Multidevice plans allow the operator's customers to share a data plan quota or allowance among their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile data devices.

What Is the Opportunity?

Operators can gain new revenues by offering subscribers the opportunity to add devices to a data plan for an incremental monthly fee, while also driving adoption of higher-quota data plans.

What Are the Challenges?

• Offering single data service to a subscriber who is using multiple devices, all of which share the same mobile data quota (i.e., multiple International Mobile Equipment Identity [IMEI] and International Mobile Subscriber Identity [IMSI] values mapping to the same Mobile Station ISDN).

• Allowing a subscriber to replenish the account when the quota is depleted in a manner that affects all devices.

How Will This Impact My Business?

• Increases average revenue per user (ARPU). Multidevice data plans can increase growth in operators' mobile data revenue from incremental per-device monthly fees.

• Provides opportunities to sell higher-priced data plans due to the likelihood that subscribers will need to increase their quota plans to accommodate increased usage across all their devices. For example, Cisco VNI estimates that a tablet generates five times more traffic than the average smartphone (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Multidevice Plans Must Accommodate Usage Characteristics of Different Devices

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2010-2015

What Do I Need?

Cisco ASR 5000 Multimedia Core Platform: Purpose-built mobile multimedia core platform that delivers the performance and intelligence required by today's mobile networks.

Cisco In-Line Services: Intelligent functions that are integrated into the Cisco ASR 5000 and implemented in the bearer traffic, eliminating the need for external lower-reliability network elements while simplifying the network through integrated services. Multidevice plans use several In-Line Services functions, such as application detection and control, Enhanced Charging Service, and policy enforcement.

Cisco Mobility Unified Reporting System: Solution providing comprehensive statistical analysis and trending of network attributes and subscriber sessions through tight integration with the deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities of the Cisco ASR 5000. This solution helps operators optimize network performance, target new services, and plan infrastructure investments.

Cisco Policy and Charging Control (PCC): Standards-based, highly scalable solution for operators to efficiently optimize network resources across subscribers and services while providing significant revenue opportunities by allowing the deployment of new personalized services.

Why Cisco?

Cisco IP Next Generation Network (IP NGN) offers a comprehensive end-to-end IP solution encompassing Radio Access Network (RAN) backhaul, IP edge and aggregation, Evolved Packet Core (EPC), IP core, and data center, optimized for the mobile data surge, while providing an intelligent common IP core across all access types. Cisco's access-independent, IP-based Mobile Internet solutions are essential promoters of operator differentiation, new revenues, network optimization, and profitability.
In addition, Cisco Services has the experience, tools, and best practices to help operators reduce time to market in deploying mobile network solutions.

Get Started Today

To find out how Cisco can help you gain new revenues by offering new and differentiated personalized mobile broadband services, contact your Cisco representative or visit