Telcos need to break the vicious cycle of investing in capacity to ease the pressure on their networks and instead put more emphasis on providing a consistent quality of experience, said Neil Davies, founder and chief scientist of Predictable Network Solutions, on Tuesday.

Addressing the audience at CommunicAsia in Singapore, he said that telcos that continue to concentrate on increasing the capacity in their networks are at risk of death by unserviceable debt.

"If all you do is open up more supply, you will experience a faster saturation of your infrastructure," Davies warned. This results in a lower quality of experience (QoE), which leads to more complaints and higher churn, he explained. This forces telcos to "panic buy" extra capacity for their network and the cycle begins again.

"The speed at which you're moving round that circle is increasing," Davies said. "As that speed increases, you don't have sufficient time to earn a full return on the investment in your infrastructure" before it needs upgrading or replacing.

Instead, telcos should focus on rolling out networks that can provide a consistent QoE by prioritising certain types of data traffic – such as video-streaming or real-time communications.

"Divide traffic into 'superior', 'standard', and 'economy', and charge for it accordingly," Davies said, rekindling the argument for an end to unlimited data tariffs.

"At the moment, the 1 terabyte per month user is being subsidised by the grannies who hardly use the Internet for anything, and I don't think that's fair," he concluded.