Thursday, 21 February 2013

SKT and one million causes causes noises (from

Almost twelve months after Vodafone Spain became the first mobile operator to officially launch Joyn, South Korea’s SK Telecom has announced a fairly impressive one million users for its Joyn.T service, just 50 days after it was launched in December 2012.

SKT is the first of the seven operators that have launched Joyn services in four countries in the past twelve months to have announced user numbers, though it has not stated what proportion of the one million Joyn.T subscribers are active users. The operator made the Joyn.T Android application available for download from its T Store, but mobile subscribers can also download it from Google Play, from where the application had between 10,000-50,000 downloads in the 30 days to February 19, 2012.

The announcement is timely for the GSM Association given that it comes the week before the industry body’s Mobile World Congress, where Rich Communications Suite (RCS), and Joyn in particular, will likely be a key focus.

The SKT numbers also give Joyn a much-needed boost, coming as it does within weeks of Deutsche Telekom being forced to issue a clarification about its delayed launch of Joyn services in Germany. DT said that an error in translation resulted in the reporting of an “indefinite delay” in the launch of Joyn in Germany, which was originally scheduled for December 2012, when in fact the operator had simply declined to state a new launch date. Informa understands that DT is currently conducting a sizeable user trial of the live service on its network, and that a launch is imminent.

According to SKT, the GSMA said that the success of its Joyn.T launch will likely accelerate the commercialization of Joyn globally. Joyn services are already available from mobile operators in Spain (Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange), Germany (Vodafone) and the US (MetroPCS), as well as from SKT rivals LG Uplus and KT Freetel.

The GSMA stated at Informa’s Rich Communications event in Berlin in November that 30 operators in 18 countries had committed to launching Joyn services, not all of which were opcos of operators that have already launched services. However, by Informa’s own reckoning, just ten operators (and their subsidiaries) are planning launches on 24 networks in an additional 16 countries, not including Spain, Germany, the US and South Korea, where services have already launched.

Most recently, it’s been reported that Singapore’s Starhub is working with partner network Vodafone on a Joyn launch, scheduled for 2H13. It is likely that Starhub’s Joyn service will make use of Vodafone’s hosted RCS capability, with Vodafone recently stating that it is already helping seven partner and competitor networks deploy RCS-based services, with another seven networks and a mobile operator with a group of 13 networks in the pipeline.

But it remains to be seen whether those mobile operators who are doubtful about RCS services will be sufficiently convinced by the positive subscriber response to SKT’s launch of Joyn.T, especially since SKT’s success appears to be an isolated case. None of the other mobile operators that have launched Joyn services have disclosed user numbers, and Google Play data would tend to suggest that mobile subscribers have not rushed to download their respective Joyn applications. For example, both the Joyn by Vodafone and the Joyn by MetroPCS Android applications had between 100,000-500,000 downloads in the 30 days to February 19. That is an improvement since January 25, however, when the respective applications had between 50,000-100,000 downloads and between 10,000-50,000 downloads.

Meanwhile, the uptake of Joyn.T is particularly notable given that South Korea is also home to KakaoTalk, one of the first over-the-top messaging applications, which launched in March 2010 and which at last count had 75 million downloads. Indeed, it was the uptake of KakaoTalk (among others) that led to the demise of SKT’s Mobile Messenger service, which was launched in August 2006, and which then developed into an interoperable “pre-RCS” service in March 2009, alongside KT Freetel’s Show Messenger and LG Telecom’s Oz Messenger.

SKT initially offered Mobile Messenger for free, and the number of subscribers to the service grew from 216,000 in May 2009 to 1.2 million by June 2010, while monthly traffic increased from 13.5 million messages to 243 million messages during the same period. However, once SKT started charging for Mobile Messenger, user numbers and traffic fell dramatically, as subscribers migrated to the ‘free’ applications provided by KakaoTalk and others.

It is possible that a proportion of KakaoTalk users may switch back to Joyn.T. But KakaoTalk has in the meantime created additional revenue-generating consumer-facing services, such as branded emoticons (stickers) and games, and has also launched a digital publishing platform targeted at enabling brands and content providers to provide services and content to KakaoTalk users. In so doing, KakaoTalk has taken steps to differentiate itself from competitive plays (such as Joyn.T) in a bid to ensure it remains a relevant and preferred service for its users, and it is generating revenues from these services.

By contrast, it appears that SKT has accepted that initially, at least, Joyn.T will not be a directly revenue-generating service, and the operator has even extended the availability of Joyn.T as an unlimited, “free-for-life” service to smartphone users on flat-rate data plans; previously Joyn.T had been available for free to SKT’s 3G All-in-One and LTE  subscribers on flat-rate data plans. Data usage associated with Joyn.T messaging will also be free, including messages sent from Joyn.T devices to non-Joyn.T devices (smart-phones and feature-phones), which will be delivered as SMSes.

The operator is also offering its Joyn.T customers the ability to exchange content, sticker and emoticons via the rich messaging capability, but it has not disclosed whether these will be additional revenue-generating services.

SKT is looking ahead, however, and plans to link Joyn.T to its HD Voice VolTE service, and to open up its Joyn.T APIs to small-to-medium enterprises. The latter strategy should help SKT to generate additional revenues, as SMEs tap into the operator’s infrastructure in order to be able to offer Joyn.T-based applications and services such as games, social networking and mobile commerce.
At present, Joyn.T appears to be more of a customer retention strategy for SKT. Certainly, the operator is playing to its strengths in terms of its existing billing relationships with its mobile subscribers, and consequently its ability to be able to bundle access to Joyn.T with its mobile data plans.

But it remains to be seen whether offering Joyn.T for free is going to be enough to tempt SKT subscribers away from KakaoTalk, which has in the intervening years developed its offering beyond simply ‘free’ messaging, made its application available on multiple device OSes (Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Bada, WindowsPhone), and built up a substantial user base.


Report: Skype makes up one-third of all international phone traffic

Microsoft's Skype unit grew its international traffic by 44 percent in 2012, more than twice the volume growth achieved by all the phone companies in the world combined, according to a report from TeleGeography. The report found that global Skype usage is now equivalent to over one-third of all international phone traffic, Skype's highest level ever.

The report, which looks at trends in the international long distance market, highlights the growth of Skype and other over-the-top communication service providers. TeleGeography found that that "international telephone traffic grew 5 percent in 2012, to 490 billion minutes," while at the same time "cross-border Skype-to-Skype voice and video traffic grew 44 percent in 2012, to 167 billion minutes. This increase of nearly 51 billion minutes is more than twice that achieved by all international carriers in the world, combined." That means Skype traffic represented 34 percent of all international phone traffic last year, the firm said.

The above shows international call volumes and growth rates, 1992-2012, according to TeleGeography. The firm said data for 2012 are projections based on preliminary data. VoIP traffic reflects international traffic transported as VoIP by carriers, and excludes PC-to-PC traffic.

"The pressure on carriers will continue to mount in the coming years," TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert said in a statement. "While Skype is the best-known voice application, it's far from the only challenger to the PSTN. Google (Talk and Voice), WeChat (Weixin), Viber, Nimbuzz, Line, and KakaoTalk have also become popular. And, perhaps most ominously for telcos, Facebook recently added a free voice calling feature to its Messenger application."

However, TeleGeography noted that not all of Skype's traffic represents a loss for traditional carriers, since over 40 percent of Skype's traffic is now video, "and it's likely that a meaningful share of this is 'new' traffic, rather than a direct replacement for a telephone call. However, given their enormous traffic volume, it's difficult not to conclude that at least some of Skype's growth is coming at the expense of traditional carriers."

TeleGeography found that if all of Skype's on-net traffic had been routed via traditional telcos, global international telephone traffic would have increased 14 percent in 2011 and 13 percent in 2012, rather than the 5 percent the market experienced in 2012.
In other Skype news, the company has started testing video messaging for iOS, Android, and Mac devices. The new video feature lets Skype users send up to three minutes of video to each other.

A Skype spokesperson said that the company's video messaging "is in early release for testing in several markets for Android, iOS, and Mac with functionality to send and receive video messages. Users in these markets across all Windows desktop and mobile platforms can receive messages, too. We will have send capability in Windows by end of April. In the meantime, we continue to test this new feature in its early release."

Direct download:


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

SK Telecom's Joyn service reaches 1million users

Operator enables Joyn subscribers to send instant messages to feature phone owners.

SK Telecom claimed on Monday that its joyn.T service has become the first RCS offering to surpass the 1 million subscriber mark.

The operator launched Joyn – the consumer-facing brand of the GSMA's Rich Communication Suite (RCS) – under the joyn.T brand in late December 2012. Since then it has tweaked the service so that data fees incurred from sending and receiving instant messages are not deducted from an end user's data allowance – a similar strategy that has been adopted by Joyn operators in Europe.

In addition, SK Telecom has also enabled subscribers to send Joyn messages to phones that do not have Joyn installed, which includes feature phones that are not compatible with the service. Any instant messages sent to a non-Joyn phone appear in the recipient's SMS inbox.

"SK Telecom aims to integrate all means of mobile communication into joyn.T to make it the most attractive choice for customers seeking an accurate and enriched communication service," said Wi Eui-Seok, EVP and head of product planning at SK Telecom, in a statement.

It will start by integrating joyn.T with its high-definition (HD) voice over LTE (VoLTE) service, which will become a standard feature on all phones sold by SK Telecom from March.
SK Telecom said it will also make its joyn.T APIs available to third parties in a bid to foster an ecosystem of entertainment, m-commerce and ICT services around its RCS offer.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Acme Packet and CounterPath Partner to Give Operators the Solution to the Internet OTT Threat

Acme Packet, the leader in session delivery networks, and CounterPath, a leading developer of award-winning desktop, tablet and mobile VoIP software products and solutions, today announced a joint solution based on CounterPath's market-leading Bria softphone and Acme Packet's market-leading Net-Net session border controller (SBC). The solution is targeted at service providers looking to extend service footprint and increase subscriber base by tapping into the growing demand for "over-the-top" (OTT) services that leverage the Internet for real-time voice and video communications.
News Highlights:
  • The joint solution is the first to leverage Acme Packet's implementation of an emerging standard known as Tunneled Service Control Function (TSCF), which delivers an infrastructure-based alternative for real-time, over-the-top (OTT) communications.

  • CounterPath's Bria mobile edition, a SIP-based softphone for Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, as well as Google Android, now integrates tunneling innovations from Acme Packet that enable increased secure connectivity, enhanced firewall traversal, and interoperability with Acme Packet's SBCs.

  • The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the standards organization that oversees the development of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), is currently working to standardize the TSCF function.

  • Acme Packet and CounterPath designed this solution for service providers looking to provide secure voice, video, IM, presence, and SMS to mobile apps -- with higher levels of quality and reliability than current solutions.

  • The joint solution helps customers extend the reach of their services by allowing tunneled sessions to traverse network borders, even in the presence of strict firewalls.

  • With Acme Packet's patent-pending tunnel redundancy, the solution improves media quality under adverse network conditions and the Internet, where packet loss is common. Both signaling and media are replicated to ensure the highest possible quality of experience.

  • The solution also features CounterPath's Client Configuration Server, which is used by service providers to deploy and provision the CounterPath mobile app.
Joint Solution Benefits:
  • Secure VoIP and video communications for mobile applications on iPhone, Android, and Windows devices
  • Maximum service reach with strict firewall traversal
  • High voice quality and surmount packet loss for off-net or OTT VoIP services
  • Call continuity across Wi-Fi and mobile networks
  • Open and standards driven tunneling technology for both signaling and media
  • Service provider-grade IP communications and security leveraging hardware assisted encryption and tunneling technologies
  • Protection against malicious attacks and non-malicious overloads for OTT services
  • Support for standard codecs, regardless of signaling or media type
  • "This partnership with Acme Packet only enhances our Telco-OTT offering to service providers with a high-quality, real-time solution that guarantees secure calls in even the strictest network environments. As a result, we believe this joint solution will provide a better experience than what Skype and other OTT players currently offer," said Todd Carothers, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Products, CounterPath. "This solution demonstrates our ongoing commitment to innovation as we continue to provide operators with the technology to beat Internet OTT offerings."

  • "In order to compete in the emerging telecommunications industry, traditional telephony providers must learn to embrace Internet philosophies and deliver new and differentiated services via a Telco-OTT model," said Dean Bubley, founder, Disruptive Analysis. "Acme Packet and CounterPath's joint solution enables service providers to strengthen their OTT service portfolio by improving quality and security."

  • "Traditional service providers are increasingly concerned with OTT providers taking subscribers away from their business," said Pat MeLampy, chief technology officer, Acme Packet. "This joint solution enables service providers to compete directly with other OTT offerings and keep customers on their networks. By choosing CounterPath, an industry leading VoIP technology, and Acme Packet, the market leader in SBCs, our customers can deliver all the benefits of OTT services, offer security and reliability, as well as simply interoperate with pre-existing services."
More about Acme Packet and CounterPath:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Improved traffic distribution indicates that operators are managing assets more effectively

There are likely to be a few last-minute adjustments to slides before this year’s Mobile World Congress, given that the industry’s most popular traffic forecasts were downgraded. Last week, Cisco released its latest mobile data forecasts, which show a significant decline from previous estimates. The company has lowered its figures by more than 30 per cent in the period 2012-2016 compared with their figures published this time last year.

February 2013:
February 2012:

Some of the main reasons cited for the downgrade include
  • The implementation of tiered mobile data packages.
  • A slowdown in the number of mobile-connected laptop net additions.
  • An increase in the amount of mobile traffic offloaded to the fixed network. Cisco says that about 33 per cent of mobile traffic was offloaded to the fixed network in 2012.
  • Higher-than-expected tablet usage on wifi.

Although it is encouraging to see that Cisco has now brought its forecasts more into line with those of most other commentators, no one should be surprised to see further reductions as many of the points highlighted above bite down on future cellular usage.

Looking beyond the downgrade of its forecasts, another conclusion from the company’s research could bring much more positive news for the industry. Cisco has found that mobile data usage is becoming more evenly distributed among users. In 2010, the top one per cent of users generated 50 per cent of traffic; in 2012, the proportion dropped to 16 per cent, below the fixed-traffic ratio of 1:20 that has been evident for years.

Because of the dynamics of a growing market, this flattening of usage distribution was inevitable as we move to mass-market adoption; but the speed and scale at which it has occurred (according to Cisco) is surprising and just goes to show how fast the industry moves.
We can hypothesize a number of factors that have contributed to this change, including:

  • Targeting of extreme usage by operators through yield-management strategies such as fair-usage policies, data caps and throttling.
  • The increasing availability of free wifi acting as a substitute for cellular usage.
  • The natural limit of consumption of high-bandwidth data on cellular. This is something that we have been saying for a long time at Informa. Essentially, high-bandwidth applications, such as video, are more suited to stationary, indoor consumption, which is not the natural sweet spot for cellular.
  • The huge increase in the number of smartphone users attracted by affordable handsets and data plans
So why is this encouraging? Well, operators need to manage their core asset and scarce resource, namely bandwidth, as efficiently as possible. For years we’ve heard complaints about the “data hogs” that consume disproportionately large amounts of bandwidth for relatively low ARPU, but now it would seem that operators have been able to significantly modify usage to broaden the consumption on their networks. However, this is just part of the equation. Investors don’t care about traffic distribution: They want to see evidence that this traffic management translates into greater value.

The current reporting season has been littered with CEOs confirming that their traditional revenue streams of voice and SMS continue to fall against the relentless onslaught of free internet-communication services. Swisscom’s CEO believes that the company’s voice and SMS revenue will be gone within three years. If we strip away these declining revenue streams, we’re left with the future of an operator’s business, namely internet/data connectivity. To derive incremental value from this source, operators must therefore be able to differentiate the “data” they provide, a topic further explored in a recent Informa white paper, Understanding today’s smartphone user. We are indeed seeing evidence of progress in this area, and if you listen carefully, there are even murmurs that yield-management strategies are beginning to benefit bottom lines. For example, AT&T’s 4Q12 results show that the company now has “two thirds of smartphone subscribers on usage-based plans” (as opposed to all-you-can eat data plans) and cite take-up of these plans as a major contributor to increasing year-on-year wireless EBITDA by seven per cent.

It’s clear that it has never been more critical for operators to demonstrate that they can monetize their bandwidth, and although it’s taken a while, perhaps we’re now just starting to see real evidence of a more sustainable approach to network management and pricing in mobile. Cisco might have recently adjusted its view of the market but, thankfully, it would seem that operators have started to as well.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Report: Minimizing the OTT threat

The growing threat from over-the-top providers such as Netflix and YouTube has wireless operators on the defensive. Consumers are increasingly watching video content on their smartphones and tablets, rather than their TVs, and many are using services such as Netflix, YouTube and Hulu to access that content.

According to Nielsen's most recent cross-platform report, the amount of time Americans spent watching video via traditional TV rose less than 1 percent year-over-year as of third quarter 2012. Yet time spent watching video via the Internet increased 37 percent, while minutes spent by mobile subscribers watching video on a mobile phone rose 25 percent during the one-year period.

Of course, the big dilemma facing operators is that these services eat up valuable bandwidth on the network, which cuts into their bottom line. But there are alternatives. Some operators are deploying platforms and products that promise to make OTT content better and easier for consumers to access and will help operators monetize these content offerings.

Rich Communications Services or RCS is one solution operators are deploying in an attempt to circumvent the OTT threat. MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) is the first U.S. operator to commercially launch RCS, under the GSMA's joyn brand. According to MetroPCS, the service is humming along just fine despite the fact that Deutsche Telekom is said to be experiencing technical difficulties in Germany. DT has indefinitely delayed launching joyn there.

The jury is still out on whether the GSMA's RCS/joyn initiative will be successful. Although the trade group maintains that the service is gaining traction with 19 vendors offering RCS on a hosted basis others say that the RCS effort is too little, too late and doesn't solve all the challenges presented by OTT providers.

FierceWireless' latest  ebook, "Minimizing the OTT Threat," takes an in-depth look at the threat from OTT providers, and examines how operators are making progress in delivering content to their customers.


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Deutsche Telekom indefinitely delays Joyn launch date, admits to technical issues

​Deutsche Telekom (DT) is indefinitely delaying the commercial launch of its Joyn RCS service after admitting that implementing the technology is taking much longer than originally expected.
The company had initially confirmed Oct. 1, 2012, as a launch date for Joyn services, but this then slipped to December and has now been delayed further due to complex integration issues, according to

Incorporating the Joyn software into DT's handset portfolio is a lengthy process that requires thorough testing, DT spokesman Dirk Turning told Wirtschafts Woche. "Our goal is, of course, to move as quickly as possible to bring Joyn to market," he said.
The problems appear to be focused on the Joyn messenger service and its lack of stability, the German website reported.

While the aim is to launch Joyn on Android-based handsets, DT is worried about the current fragmentation of the Google smartphone platform and ensuring that its Joyn services will work with other German operators and those elsewhere.

Vodafone Germany launched its Joyn service in August at the IFA event in Berlin--albeit in beta format on the Android platform, but has given no indication when an iPhone version might become available. Telefónica's O2 Germany has said it is committed to launching Joyn in the future, while E-Plus has given no sign regarding its intent.

Separately, WhatsApp, a major over-the-top messaging and social messaging rival to Joyn, has been criticised for breaching privacy rules following a joint investigation by Dutch and Canadian regulators, according to a BBC report.

Investigators said concerns centred on the messaging app asking smartphone users to enable access to their address book once they had downloaded the WhatsApp software. The privacy issue arose when the app transferred users' address book details to the WhatsApp servers, and failed to delete those belonging to people who had not signed up to the service.
"This practice contravenes Dutch and Canadian privacy law, which holds that information may only be retained for so long as it is required for the fulfilment of an identified purpose," the regulators said, according to the BBC.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority told the BBC it could take punitive action if U.S.-based WhatsApp does not change its software.


MetroPCS says joyn launch proceeding smoothly despite DT's troubles

MetroPCS said its deployment of Rich Communication Services under the GSMA's joyn brand is humming along just fine. The comments are notable considering the technical difficulties Deutsche Telekom is experiencing in Germany that have forced the carrier to indefinitely delay launching joyn there.

MetroPCS, the only U.S. carrier so far to have launched joyn, said all of its LTE handsets--including the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Admire 4G, ZTE Avid and LG Spirit--now support joyn via a downloadable client available in Google's Play storefront.
MetroPCS spokesman Drew Crowell told FierceWireless that the company's plans for joyn remain unchanged, and that the carrier hopes to sell phones with joyn built in by the middle of this year. "We are working with handset OEMs to build-in joyn as a fully integrated feature, without the need for a download," he said.

Deutsche Telekom said earlier this week is indefinitely delaying the commercial launch of joyn in Germany after admitting that implementing the technology is taking much longer than originally expected. Incorporating joyn software into DT's handset portfolio is a lengthy process that requires thorough testing, DT spokesman Dirk Turning told Wirtschafts Woche. "Our goal is, of course, to move as quickly as possible to bring joyn to market," he said.

MetroPCS first launched joyn in late October. "As with any new service or feature rollout, there were challenges that needed to be addressed but we are proud to have been the first LTE operator to successfully launch RCS v. 5.0," Crowell said.
Crowell declined to provide usage statistics on MetroPCS' joyn users. MetroPCS has said the technology will allow users with compatible handsets to:
  • See when other users are available;
  • Conduct threaded text conversations;
  • Share content via one click from an address book;
  • Share video, images and files while on a call;
  • And conduct voice and video calls over Wi-Fi networks.
MetroPCS has said it launched joyn to enhance its customers' mobile experience and not necessarily to protect against losing messaging or data revenues--MetroPCS is not charging extra for the service. However, many European carriers have embraced joyn in order to stem losses to over-the-top messaging services like WhatsApp, Apple's iMessage and Facebook's Messenger.
Late last year in Spain Telefónica's Movistar, Orange Spain and Vodafone Spain jointly launched joyn service.
As operators rally around joyn, over-the-top providers continue to expand. For example, Facebook recently updated its Messenger app for iOS to support voice calling between Facebook users.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Facebook adds video recording, voice messaging to iOS app

Facebook is overhauling its flagship mobile social networking application for Apple's iOS, adding in-app video recording and sharing capabilities as well as voice messaging options.

Although consumers could previously upload video clips directly to Facebook accounts from their iOS device photo roll, the Facebook for iOS 5.4 update implements the functionality directly into the app, promising a smoother, more efficient user experience. The built-in video recording and sharing features also mirror functionality found in rival Twitter's new Vine video app, which launched last week--The Verge states that Facebook app updates are released on a strict schedule, suggesting the timing of the latest revamp is likely coincidental, although it's worth noting that Facebook has already blocked Vine from accessing its network.

Facebook for iOS 5.4 also brings voice recording options previously available in the company's standalone Messenger apps for iOS and Google's Android; potential use case scenarios for the new feature include hands-free messaging or more complex messages that are too long and detailed to type as conventional texts. Facebook is additionally improving the iOS app's Nearby tab, which suggests local businesses and landmarks based on the user's interests and preferences.

Facebook is now the most popular application in the U.S. with 85.6 million unique visitors per month, according to comScore data released last week. Facebook also dominates user engagement rankings, accounting for 23 percent of all time spent on mobile apps each month. Facebook-owned photo sharing Instagram occupies another 3 percent of users' time.

For more:
- read this Verge article


Facebook new update brings even more signaling to the networks

Recent analysis from Alcatel Lucent says that new update (from November 15th) brings even more signaling load to mobile networks. Should facebook allow the user to trigger/ defined how "chatty" is the app and optimize Costumer Experience ?

On November 15, Facebook released new versions of their mobile app for Android and iOS. Prior to the new release, Facebook signaling and airtime already accounted for 10% and 15% of the overall load on 2G/3G networks, respectively.  As users around the world updated and started to use this new version, we quickly noticed a dramatic increase of almost 60% in the signaling load and 25% in the airtime consumed by the Facebook application.  During the same period,  the number of Facebook users increased by only 4%.

Clearly, it is not the swelling of Facebook’s community that intensified the load, but rather the introduction of new Facebook features for mobile users and underlying platform changes.

Total Daily Signaling & Airtime per Facebook Traffic Type (click for full size)

The effect on service provider networks was significant, driving up overall (total) signaling traffic and airtime consumption by 5-10%.  An application design change by Facebook can be innocuous for fixed line and WiFi users, but can significantly boost the cost of delivery for mobile service operators.   This 5-10% increase in signaling and/or airtime translates directly into a 5-10% increase in radio capacity requirement (i.e. CAPEX investment) to continue delivering the same service.

So this is obviously of concern to a mobile operator, but why should Facebook care?  The simple answer – you!  Higher signaling and airtime usage can directly affect battery life.  While today, the increase is likely too small to impose noticeable threat to battery life, we did see a huge jump in signaling with this release.  If signaling continues to increase at this rate in future releases, a large portion of users may start to notice that they need to charge up more frequently.

Another trend we detected was an increase in popularity of Facebook video traffic — a whopping 350% increase in volume since the November 15th launch — the most growth of all Facebook traffic. Unlike signaling where the updated software was responsible for the increase,  this change is driven by more users enjoying new features such as sharing their news feeds.   It is interesting that Facebook-chat traffic decreased during that same period (17% fewer users),  indicating that users formerly using chat to communicate might be starting to use Messenger and embedded videos (+6% and +154% more users, respectively).  While insignificant from a signaling perspective, the growing appetite for high bandwidth applications like video means service providers must account for bandwidth growth as the use of video continues to rise.

Portion of Overall Daily Airtime and Signaling due to Facebook (click for full size)

The bottom line – as we continue to feed our mobile applications habit, app developers will need to better consider the implications of their design decisions on the wireless network resources.  Optimizing signaling has big benefits for both the service providers and consumers –  including better user experience at a more reasonable price and a big one for all of us — longer battery life.