2013 Trends: Doug Suriano, CTO, Tekelec

Smart device users will increasingly consume data that they don't have to pay for in 2013.

“Free” data - Data is never truly free, but subscribers will consume more data that they won’t pay for next year. Philippines operator Globe Telecom became the first in the world to offer Google’s Free Zone, and Telkomsel in Indonesia and 8.ta in South Africa soon followed. This service gives subscribers access to Google Search web pages, Gmail and Google+ on smart phones and feature phones, without any cost to them.

Application-based services and pricing - Multiple South American Telefónica properties lead the way of charging for data in tiers based on applications: social media, streaming content, messaging, e-mail, etc. This grouping is intuitive for subscribers, and therefore one of the most friendly. It can also adapt to include new popular sites to capitalize on third parties’ brand awareness.

Standardization of SDN - Software-defined networking is the term du jour, and for good reason. A vastly simplified network architecture that could more easily deliver innovative mobile data services has the potential to lower operators’ costs, increase revenues and bring more value to service providers’ assets. One of the big challenges, though, is that SDN often means something different to different audiences. In 2013, service providers and vendors will accelerate SDN standards development.

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