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I proclaim victory! Victory to E over S, victory to Experience over Service – victory to QoE over QoS! In a world of best effort, this makes me happy. Finally there’s focus on what matters – the subscriber.

I admit, I’m a geek. A geek who looks forward to two events every year – MWC in Barcelona, and the Broadband Traffic Management (BBTM) event in London. You see! Who the hell looks forward to three days of traffic management discussions?!? Well, I do, and the evidence is in the fact that I’ve attended every annual BBTM to date, including the 5th annual conference that took place the week before last.

BBTM is the place to be for industry gossip. Everyone’s there. At least everyone within our contained little universe of broadband technology. And everyone’s bursting to share – in confidence – little tidbits of how everyone else is doing. And on a serious note, this is where the industry exchanges experiences on what works, what doesn’t, and what’s happening.

Already at the end of day one I tweeted “BBTM; QoE leads 42-7 over QoS, and demand is shadowing usage.” Why does this matter (as Ray Le Maistre says in his LightReading articles)? Because the experience is what matters. KPIs (key performance indexes) tell you the story of how the network is doing, which might be entirely different from what the subscriber is experiencing, since non-network related aspects may have an impact on the user perception.

Carl-Magnus Hallberg, CTO at TeliaSonera, gave a great example at the Nordic Baltic Executive Telco Forum a few weeks ago. He told the audience that he had arrived by train to the conference. The data service on the train was terrible and he called his guys to get the status of the network: “It’s all green.” Well, the user experience was anything but “all green”.

Fast forward to London a few weeks ago. Ed Candy, former CTO of 3UK, shows the BBTM audience how 3UK, in their short 3G existence, have increased throughput by 100x. This is a necessity, but at the same time we can all conclude that throwing bandwidth at users won’t solve every issue. We must know more about what the subscribers are doing, when, where, on what device, and how this dynamic model impacts the user experience, which is hard to present in one-dimensional KPIs.

Survey after survey shows that the number one reason for mobile customers to churn – or stay with their operator – is network quality. It’s a differentiator. Network quality is a question of perception, and it depends on whether you’re calling someone, playing an online game, or downloading emails.

I’ve said it before, and I say it again: The one who knows the most, wins! We must make our networks smarter. It’s the only way we can understand what’s happening. It’s the only way we can analyze the perception of our services, and adjust our actions to be in line with new killer apps and the release of chatty apps. Internet has forced all other businesses to improve the shopping experience or be obsoleted by online stores, so now it’s time for operators to live as we learn and take a subscriber-approach to how we assure a good customer experience. Long live QoE!

PS. …and speaking of winning, it’s always great to be a winner! Procera collected a BBTM Award for the second consecutive year,PacketLogic™ Dynamic LiveView won the “Most Innovative Tool For Real-Time Intelligence”. Procera – Empowering Intelligence ;-).

Topics: What We're Up To, Network Bandwidth, TeliaSonera, QoE, Quality of Experience, Subscriber, Network Intelligence, Network Performance, 3UK, Network Traffic, QOS