Telecoms operators worldwide are working hard to manage the growing strain increasing data traffic places on their networks. And customers want a consistently good quality of experience from their mobile provider, even in places where a high concentration of mobile users means significant network congestion.
This is a key area of focus for Ericsson, which on Wednesday unveiled a new offering designed to help its mobile operator customers provide good service quality at big events where large numbers of users are sharing videos and photos, surfing the Internet and engaging in social networking on their smartphones and other devices.
"Operators always have a challenge to provide the right level of service," said Paolo Colella, head of consulting and systems integration at Ericsson, presenting the solution, known as Key Event Experience, at a media event in London.
Essentially, Key Event Experience allows telcos to manage high traffic spikes, he explained.
"It's receiving very large interest from our customers," Colella said.
The vendor's reference customer is U.S. operator Sprint, which uses the solution to support its mobile network at NASCAR races, where there could be up to 200,000 people in and immediately around the race area.
"[Nascar generates] 3.5 times growth in traffic when the race is on," Colella said.
Ericsson describes Key Event Management as "an end-to-end solution that enables operators to deliver rock-solid network performance during events." In addition to network planning and optimisation, it includes real-time network performance monitoring, traffic management, and proactive resolution of network issues.
It was one of around a dozen announcements made by Ericsson on Wednesday, most of which centre on helping telcos to improve their networks and provide a better user experience as the demands placed upon them increase.
40% of the mobile phones sold in 2012 were smartphones, noted Magnus Furustam, VP and head of core and IMS at Ericsson. He reiterated Ericsson's prediction that there will be 3.3 billion smartphone subscribers globally by the end of 2018 and that in that time, traffic generated by smartphone users will increase 14-fold.
That will put "pressure on the networks", Furustam said. "This is what we intend to manage."
The highlights of Ericsson's raft of announcements,