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Quality of service is more than just a buzzword in Asia-Pacific

Quality of service (QoS) is emerging as the mobile industry’s latest buzzword, and is now viewed as the most important distinguishing feature of mobile broadband services by operators and vendors in Asia-Pacific according to a survey conducted by Ovum and Telecom Asia.

For the first time in four years, QoS topped Ovum’s Mobile Broadband Industry Survey, Asia-Pacific as the “most important differentiator in the mobile broadband market”. In comparison, last year’s survey found that coverage was the top issue.

Nicole McCormick, Senior Analyst Telco Strategy, said: “While coverage is still a key differentiator between some operators’ services, the gap between incumbents and challengers has narrowed, putting more onus on QoS”.

However, unlimited data tariffs remain a major barrier to improved QoS in a number of markets.

McCormick added: “Ovum was surprised to find that approximately 40% of respondents in this year’s survey believed that unlimited plans were the most effective way to charge for mobile data. As data usage increases, unlimited plans will only lead to the degradation of customer experience. Operators will need to abandon these plans if they are to differentiate themselves based on QoS”.

QoS will become a regulatory issue if it is overlooked. Regulators have a duty to ensure that operators are able to offer good QoS by having a clear and upfront spectrum roadmap. They also need to allocate spectrum efficiently, avoiding the temptation to split spectrum between too many operators in the name of competition.

While the responsibility of ensuring good QoS will ultimately fall on operators, regulators will step in if they believe they can introduce measures to improve QoS.

“As the findings from our survey show, many operators will increase their focus on QoS in 2012. Those that don’t may well face the wrath of regulators” concluded McCormick.

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