COMMUNICASIA, SINGAPORE--Consumers, not enterprises, are driving demand and usage of wireless data, say market players, who urge telecom operators to invest in improving their backhaul systems and management to provide the quality of experience (QoE) customers have come to expect.
Sean Bergin, head of global telecom markets at BT Southeast Asia, said telcos are currently struggling to handle the surging data demands placed on them by consumers as they stay online and engage in data-intensive applications such as games and online video.
Additionally, the marketing arm of these telcos are compounding the data crunch as they "throw eat-all-you-can" data plans at consumers for a relatively low price, he noted. The executive was a speaker at the cloud computing conference held in conjunction with the CommunicAsia tradeshow held here Tuesday.
John Garrett, vice president of product strategy and management at Pacnet, echoed Bergin's observations. He pointed out that consumers, not enterprises, are the ones driving the data demand boom, particularly via applications such as online videos where the "network meets the cloud".
In the Asia-Pacific region, for example, there are about 342 million 3G subscribers out of a combined population of over 3 billion and this is set to grow as more embrace Web-enabled mobile devices, he noted.
Mobile broadband aside, the region is also "heavily reliant" on sub-sea cables for the Internet traffic going into and out of Asia, with 88 percent of traffic in 2009 delivered via these pipes, Garrett pointed out.
Bearing in mind these infrastructure patterns, the Pacnet executive urged telcos to pay more attention to the maintenance and investment of their backend systems. With regard to investments, where to build out their data centers or how to increase existing capabilities are key issues that telco heads will have to wrestle with, he added.
BT's Bergin suggested that telcos move toward an Internet Protocol-centric backhaul system as well as "mirror and cache" as much content as possible locally to ensure that the QoE is met.
"This way, consumers won't need to pull their video content from L.A. (Los Angeles) when they are based here in Asia," he explained.