The surprising things mobile network operators are saying about 5G & QoE

We recently completed some research to better understand CSP attitudes toward Quality of Experience (QoE) and congestion management on 5G networks.

As part of the study, independent market research agency Coleman Parkes conducted an anonymous survey in which senior decision makers at 100 Tier-1 and Tier-2 mobile communication service providers (CSPs) were asked a series of questions related to 5G quality.

Survey questions focused on some of the top issues that mobile operators are facing, including

  • the dramatic increase in encrypted traffic,
  • congestion management methodologies,
  • the impact of QoE on customer retention, and
  • business considerations related to the implementation and operation of 5G mobile networks.

The idea was to learn from the people with actual experience and real-world insight.

The findings were quite interesting, to say the least!

 

5G will require advanced traffic detection to enable QoE assurance

5G is truly a revolution. From distributed architecture, through multi-access edge computing sites (MECs) and slicing, to cloud native deployments, 5G is not just 4G on steroids. Massive broadband, ultra-low latency, and millions of connected IoT devices are truly a quantum leap. New services and applications, like AR/VR-powered gaming and autonomous vehicles that take advantage of these characteristics, are certain to surprise and delight.

But for this to happen, to meet expectations and SLAs, Quality of Experience (QoE) is key. And, based on our survey of 100 Tier1 and Tier2 mobile communications service providers (CSPs) – you get it. QoE is critical in 5G, maybe even more than with 4G, and a powerful traffic detection capability that overcomes encryption is the first step.

 

CSPs lack automated, real-time tools to monitor and mitigate congestion

When asked how they manage congestion, 66% of CSPs replied that they are using TCP optimization or simple QoS rate limits for specific applications. Furthermore, there is an over-reliance on the network infrastructure vendors to report on the QoE that their infrastructure is providing.

Although 80% of CSPs are legally permitted to prioritize bandwidth during congestion, their real-time knowledge about congestion is limited to, at best, 44% of those surveyed – and it’s probably lower as only 1/3 are using automated, adaptive tools today. This means that 2/3 of CSPs cannot accurately mitigate congestion in real time in order to assure QoE!

 

QoE is actually a 5G differentiator

It is clear from our survey that 5G is here and traffic consumption is about to explode. Furthermore, CSPs clearly realize they need both granular visibility and precise traffic prioritization, at 5G bandwidth scale, to overcome encryption and ensure QoE. Critical apps and services, especially new use cases, require extreme performance, and our survey indicates that premium users will churn if you don’t deliver guaranteed quality and will pay a premium if you can deliver guaranteed QoE. To satisfy your gamers and streamers and prioritize your tiered customer traffic – you have to know and respond in real-time to exactly what is happening in your network. It’s not just good practice. It’s good business and it can set you apart from the competition – by enabling you to deliver on the 5G hype.

 

Get the full report

Want to know more? A new Telco Smart Trends (TST) report contains more information about the survey, the 5G data that the tier-1 and tier-2 mobile CSPs shared, and more highlights of the interesting conclusions regarding the current state of QoE as it relates to 5G.

For a limited time, you can even catch a video recording of Ian Parkes and I presenting the results in a recent webinar.

For more information on how Allot can help you better manage your traffic to assure QoE, visit the SmartTraffic QoE section of our website.

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