Saudi Arabian operator Mobily has managed a fourfold growth in data traffic in a year, using a WiFi offload policy driven by AccuRoam technology from Accuris Networks. The AccuRoam platform provides SIM-based authentication to WLAN access points, and can also be used to extend charging and policy based controls to devices connected over WiFi.
Mobily has seen total traffic across its wireless broadband network grow from 163TB a day in 2011 to 750TB a day in 2012. It decided in 2012 to adopt a more structured approach to WiFi offload, and chose Accuris to provide it with a platform that would authenticate users on hotspots without having to enter log-in details. In the first week of deployment, the operator sAaw 65,000 unique connected users consume 410GB of data at hotspots
The operator is using AccuRoam gateway technology from Accuris to manage SIM-based authentication to its hotspots, as well as to extend charging and policy based controls to devices connected over WiFi.
Aidan Dillon, CTO, Accuris Networks, said that the implementation had played a part in Mobily increasing profits 11% year on year for the fourth quarter 2012, despite that growth in traffic.
“We enabled Mobily’s carrier grade WiFi network to be integrated with its authentication, charging and policy centres, so it can manage its mobile broadband policy across different networks.” Dillon said. “Carriers should be able to manage that connectivity in the best possible way, so if a particular location or time is congested, subscribers can be best-connected.”
For Dillon, the biggest take-away from Mobily’s offload strategy is how quickly usage grew. “People will use it, it’s not something that needs to be explained or marketed too much. They are happy to use it, and understand it. The biggest element is that growth happens very quickly,” he said.
We’re trying to make that happen sooner, in a way, before HS2.0 covers everywhere. But even with HS2.0 there will still be a requirement for that gateway integration into the mobile network.
There are very few carriers providing this sort of managed carrier WiFi experience so far.
A recent report into consumer usage of WiFi from InformaTM found: “traffic on managed, public hotspots was just three percent and two percent of all Wi-Fi traffic in the leading Wi-Fi markets – the U.S. and the U.K., respectively.”
“We’re trying to make that happen sooner, in a way, before HS2.0 covers everywhere. But even with HS2.0 there will still be a requirement for that gateway integration into the mobile network.” Dillon said.
Accuris also provides WISPr 1.0+ and EAP based SIM authentication technology to AT&T for its WiFi roaming service, and works with a few other carriers in America, Asia and the Middle East that Dillon could not name – often to support WiFi roaming use cases.
Aptilo produced two whitepapers on WiFi offload this week. Their thrust is that through seamless Wi-Fi offload carriers can offload 50% or more of their traffic to Wi-Fi, and at the same time offer high-value new services to stand out in the market.