Introduction to Policy in telecommunications industry

Policy (as Standardized in 3GPP and other architectures) in Telecommunications stands for the creation and application of rules in real time that control:

  • What, where, when and how subscribers can access content and applications online
  • The way that specific applications are treated regardless of who is using them
  • The way in which bandwidth is allocated
  • Usually based on the deployment of policy decision points (PDPs) and policy enforcement points (PEPs)

The need for policy control is driven by:

  • Strong growth in 2010, driven by deployment of mobile broadband and the related need to manage data traffic more intelligently
  • DPI mobile network operator market grew more than 25% in 2010
  • Policy server market is smaller but is growing faster–most vendors are reporting high double-digit growth in revenues
  • Market will continue to grow strongly for the next few years, with mobile broadband the main driver
  • Use cases are still driven by various kinds of traffic management, but there is a shift to more sophisticated applications and business cases

New ideas for policy management that are emerging now includes:

  • No-limits access to Facebook and other social networking sites during off-peak periods, or when no congestion is detected
  • No limits access to a URL of the user’s choice
  • A “prayer time” offer providing subscribers with the ability to block access to the Internet, or to specific IP-based applications (video,chat, voice, gaming, etc.) during prayer or “Namaz” times
  • Parental controls that allow parents to remove and reinstate children’s access to apps, games, or services in real time or at pre-scheduled times of day
  • Policy-controlled low-latency gaming services, planned by several major telcos as they move to LTE
  • Temporarily lower data charges to encourage mobile video usage during major events, e.g. sporting events or concerts
  • Data service promotions in under-utilized cells
  • Event-based access to dedicated URL for a flat fee

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