For many years I’ve been heavily involved on the mobile application aspects of mobility; the app layer and the network layers. Most recently I’ve been spending quite a bit of time managing the development of a new product called Mobile Broadband ServiceView; development that has exposed me to a new point of view when it comes to mobile. Today my customer is the network operator themselves in the areas of “device activation, management & support aspects” (where device is a handset and/or wireless modems).

One aspect of interest is the impact of Mobile Broadband (MBB) which is globally exploding like crazy– an explosion caused by increase in use of smartphones and PC wireless modems — 3G, WiMAX and later coming is 4G. The following chart from Chetan Sharma‘s excellent recent report on “The Role of Optical Wireless Broadband in the Evolving Mobile Ecosystem” shows tremendous projected growth on data consumption on the USA alone:

…which is traffic generated by mobile services and apps. It is such growth that there are even rumors that some operators may be considering pulling the plug off voice to concentrate purely on “data”!

And with this growth it is also known and it is expected that the related costs of support will increase as well. The complexity of mobile broadband (data usage, connectivity and network issues, application impact, device issues) are some of the variables that add to key metrics such as number of support calls, number of repeat calls, call average handling times, first call resolution, escalations and other. Some of these metrics are very call-center specific, but what is the impact of this to the application developers themselves?

Impact on App Developers

Operators are big on call deflection and reducing the support call talk time, and with the thousands of applications that exists today plus the thousands more that are expected, operators, who have the tools to identify if applications are the cause of device and network issues, are pushing to the application developers themselves the burden of application support.

Is app-specific support a real issue today or one that is coming? How can application developers handle the burden/cost of app-specific support issues? I believe this is an upcoming issue for app developers to address in the future. I have my own ideas but I am curious about what developers themselves think about this topic; for this I put together a very simple/basic survey; I will be sharing the results… Thanks in advance!

Click here to take survey (SurveyMonkey)

Comments are welcome…