Don’t compromise user experience by compromising mobile data speeds

Octavio Hernandez


Anyone who can remember the early days of 2G, trying to download data via a cellphone with a 40Kbps connection, will know how frustrating the first forays into mobile working were. Only when we got to 2.5G and 1MB download speeds did we start to get a sense of the possibilities and improve our experience. Take a look at our previous blog which discusses the frustration of low data speeds. Our landing page would take 2 minutes at 128kbps (Arghh!), rather than 8 seconds when no throttle is applied. (phew!)

Now, with 4G and speeds of over 10MB commonplace, we’re seeing how mobile data can become a central pillar of modern business communications, breaking down traditional office walls and giving on-the-move employees a seamless experience. And it’s still early days. We’re streaming more and more video, much of it driven by YouTube and movie services, with Ericsson predicting a 10x increase by 2021. Expect video conferencing and content sharing to do something similar for business users.

While we can’t know for sure what type of content will drive new mobile data services, we know from the lackluster adoption of 2G services that the experience has to be exemplary. This is why downgrading the quality of streaming services makes no sense.

Meeting expectations

Some operators and mobile solutions providers have got the idea that curtailing download speeds is an effective way of minimizing data usage. Data plans are being sold with different speed tiers, promoting the notion that users can watch more video on their mobile devices while consuming less data.

I would suggest that this is a risky strategy at a moment in time when mobile data usage is starting to gain real traction in businesses. Is there anything more irritating than the spinning refresh wheel that denotes a slow connection? Our expectations are now so high that we’ll quickly click away if a service doesn’t deliver the quality and reliability we have come to expect.

In this context, offering the option of a deliberately downgraded service is not a good idea. A second-class service creates second-class citizens, people that get less and expect less. That’s not good for anybody’s business.

Control the source not the speed

The last decade has seen astonishing leaps and bounds in mobile communications, with faster speeds and greater coverage at increasingly affordable prices. So much has happened that it’s hard to remember that it’s still a nascent industry – consuming mobile data only really went mainstream with the arrival of the iPhone in 2007.

Tampering with the user experience by creating different tiers will not endear operators to customers. End users will start to complain if the quality dips and they might mistake a network service for network flaws, particularly if they have their own phone with another operator that delivers a consistently better experience.

The Asavie Moda approach to managing mobile data usage is about controlling the content not interfering with the quality. If an organization wants to ensure that expensive data packages are used primarily for business to drive productivity, lock down what employees can and can’t do with their smartphones and tablets; don’t compromise the quality of the service.

Through our combination of our SIM-based policy setting and a self-service portal you can set precise parameters on user access, based on 25 categories of web site covering 1 billion domains.  It’s a win-win approach because it also negates the security risks of exposing your organisation to malware from unsafe websites.

2017 should be the year when mobile operators redefine their role with business customers, building loyalty and reducing churn by helping them better manage their mobile strategies. At every opportunity the focus should be on giving customers a better experience, not an inferior one.

Learn more about better mobility management by downloading this eBook.