New service platform to prep for Asian Games' mobile communications

China Mobile will deploy Motorola's Service Management Platform, touted to provide real-time critical network and user data to telcos, ensuring quick resolution to sudden surge of mobile calls expected during next month's sporting event.

When the 16th Asian Games opens in Guangzhou, China, on Nov. 12, delegates and visitors to the sporting event can expect mobile calls to be connected efficiently even in high density "hot spots".

According to T.K. Ng, general manager of Motorola networks services for China and Asia Pacific, the Guangdong branch of China Mobile is working with the telecommunications equipment vendor to ensure the Chinese operator's network can handle peaks in mobile traffic during the sporting event and ensure calls are not dropped. Ng added that this is a significant requirement as "roaming charges are very handsome income for service providers".

To support the expected spike in mobile calls, Motorola is leveraging its new Service Management Platform (SMP) which will allow operators to track near real-time network performance blind-spots through an online interface so network problems can be addressed immediately.

Ng said in a phone interview: "For example, during the Beijing Olympics, whenever events were held at large venues such as the 'Bird's Nest' stadium, mobile calls around the area would surge past 100,000. With a proper monitoring system, operators can immediately send a rapid deployment vehicle from the mobile base station to expand bandwidth [and cope with the peak in traffic].

"The platform also allows operators to monitor the surge patterns for mobile usage during large events so they can better forecast and allocate resources to ensure 'hotspot' areas are taken care of."

Next month's Asian Games will be the first large event where the SMP, which was launched Wednesday, will be put to test, though, the technology behind the platform is not new, he said. The system's the measurement record (MR), for instance, was already deployed at the 2008 Olympics, he added.

It is this experience, Ng said, that brought China Mobile to Motorola, which was looking to enhance its mobile communications ahead of the 10 million guests and 14,000 athletics expected at the games.

He added that the SMP is an improved version of the vendor's traditional operation and maintenance center (OMC), which could only measure performance from a network perspective such as ensuring the working status of a mobile base station. The SMP can provide operators with data on networking performance as well as customer devices, allowing them to analyze call patterns and usage models.

Ng explained: "In the past, operators could only make intelligent guesses about network performance issues. It was also costly to deploy engineers on the street to collect real-life data.

"The SMP service profiles all voice and data calls made by users and provides a clear picture of how customers use mobile services in everyday life. With a better understanding of customer preferences, operators can provide services tailored for specific uses, user groups, mobile devices or locations."

Asked about the cost of implementing the system, he said Motorola will be operating an "open" business model that depends on the market and service providers. Operators can either adopt the SMP with a one-time charge or on a per user subscription basis, he said.

Motorola is currently not in talks with other telcos to launch the system in other regions, he said, noting that the vendor wants to first ensure the SMP can be successfully implemented during the Asian Games before using it as a launch pad for the Asia-Pacific region.

The Guangzhou Asian Games will be the largest sports event hosted in this region for the past 10 years, in which Motorola's SMP will deploy around 16,000 radios able to cover a cumulative mobile user base of more than 10 million expected during the event.

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