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Mobility: Balancing access against management

Sheila Lam | March 22, 2012
With a mobile penetration rate of over 200 percent, Hong Kong is an active and vibrant mobile market.

According to the operators, under their new policies, customers on unlimited plans who reach 5GB of local data fair usage within a single billing period will be given lower priority to access the network for the remainder of that billing period. Individual consumer subscribers will continue to have unlimited access to the network without any additional charges, without speed throttling, or switching off of their service, the operators noted.

For the corporate customers, Alex Chau, senior research manager, mobile services and technologies at IDC Asia/Pacific, said the impact will be even minimal. Many corporate customers have already had bundled offerings from telcos to make sure there is enough bandwidth for their employees. The use of Blackberry servers for e-mails by corporations also helps minimize the FUP impact, he added.

"This ceiling [of 5GB] is reasonable. Most users won't use more than that in a month unless they watch more than one hour of movies daily and do BT download often," said Chau. "Even when you cross the [lower priority] threshold, you still have 128k of speed for mobile data access--this is good enough except for high definition videos."

According to Chau, operators take various measures for the new policy. "CSL has already upgraded its infrastructure, now having a fiber-connected network, while PCCW Mobile--having dropped its unlimited data plans-- has deployed more than 9,500 hotspots for Wi-Fi offload," he said. "Their customers hopefully will see the least impact on their data access."


A journey to mobility at CLP

For CLP the drive to be mobile has been happening for some time with use of mobile devices for field engineers for at least ten years. But as the use of smartphones, iPads and other devices grown, the ability to standardize has been made much more difficult for the IT organization at CLP.

This trend has challenged IT to find ways to support more than just one device or platform. "We have had to become more flexible to support different devices and our security and management platforms now need to be much more device agnostic and support different platforms today," said Andre Blumberg, head of group applications development and support at CLP Group.

A conscious choice for mobile platforms

The company distinguishes between what platforms are supported for external customer applications and services versus what is supported internally.

CLP is now in its fourth generation iPhone app for customers that provides access to company information and allows customers to track things like energy efficiency as well as to check their own statements and accounts.

Interesting new features include the ability to trigger a relocation order when moving as well as a function to locate the closest electric vehicle charging points. 'We started with iPhone given the popularity of the platform but we are now also moving this to Android," Blumberg added. He noted that CLP was initially hesitant on Android support for internal use due to security and the issue of too many variations of the Android OS, each with its own management and usability challenges.


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