Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SingTel Mobile offers priority pass service - Asia's First.

Source: SingTel

As per singtel claim, the service offers better speeds( i.e. Typical speeds of 1.7 Mbps to 4.8 Mbps on a 21Mbps subscriber 80% of the times).

The cache is the 80% and whether is it on a single session or multiple sessions. I'll certainly exclude the option of asking for overseas content as the control is not within singtel hands. If they can promise the specified speeds even for a single session that'd be great.

Technically speaking the issue here is not with the limitations of technology or radio stuff, but how much money the operators are willing to spend and how much money consumers are willing to pay. Today, without doubt the problem is congestion and resource availability. Be it singtel or starhub or m1, all the networks are congested and running at high loads during peak hours. So the choice for them is to expand the network and charge the customer or persuade heavy users to offload. Challenge is the unique situation in Singapore, where mobile internet access is almost used as a replacement of fixed broadband. So offloading can be tricky.

Then, what are the alternatives?. IMO, I'd strongly suggest the Femtocell or other seamless/tightly coupled offloading solutions like i-wlan or GAN/E-GAN. Singtel can leverage on the NG-NBN and offer combo deals or packages for in-house usage. For outdoor usage, they can leverage on micro coverage/hot spots, something which is gaining lots of traction in LTE space.

Another point is the premium pass or ERP option is offered only on Dongles but for smartphones. I'd think the issue for them is the 'quantity' of smartphone on higher plans. If singtel offers on smartphones, this will be challenging for them to differentiate. If they put too high charge, people might not subscribe in quantities and those subscribed will complain like hell when they don't get the speeds. If they put too low, then end up like current situation of our express ways where ERP end up collecting money points rather than offering faster access.

Overall, not very convinced that the 'premium pass' can solve the throughput issues. It is more of adding capacity and offering at the right price point or offload to fixed network.

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