Q&A: Mark Davis, senior director, product marketing, Citrix
Mark Davis, senior director of product marketing at Citrix, talks to Capacity about the diverse nature of African operators and his expectations for growth in the region.
Can you give me a brief overview of Citrix ByteMobile?
Citrix ByteMobile products, which are deployed in mobile core networks, optimise mobile data and video, improving the experience for mobile subscribers who access and consume video and multimedia content on their devices.
The ByteMobile Adaptive Traffic Management platform includes video and web optimisation, TCP optimisation, analytics, policy control and deep packet inspection capabilities. Video optimisation, in particular, is critical for operators, as 60% of all mobile data traffic consists of video content, with numerous sources indicating that this figure will continue to rise worldwide over the next 3-5 years.
What relationship does the company share with operators?
ByteMobile products help operators increase the effective capacity of their radio access networks, attract and retain subscribers; and drive increased data consumption by delivering a great mobile web and video experience.
Many of the company’s operator customers are part of large operator groups that provide service in multiple countries, each with differing levels of network technology, smartphone penetration, ARPU/ARPA and data consumption. These operator groups seek vendors that can provide solutions that are applicable to the multiple scenarios present across the diverse markets in which they operate.
What operations does the company have in the African region?
African operators are more diverse than those on any other continent. With a regional customer base that extends from the Cape of Good Hope to the Strait of Gibraltar to the Black Sea to the Arabian Gulf, Citrix ByteMobile sees this diversity first-hand.
While some operators are seeking to deliver an acceptable web and video experience over their 2G networks, others are trying to get the most out of their 3G network assets. Still others are seeking to improve the subscriber HD video experience on already-congested LTE networks.
Regardless of operator location, Citrix ByteMobile has both in-house and local partner technical support and professional services at-the-ready to ensure smooth operation.
What are some of the challenges of operating in the African market?
A significant challenge of operating in the African market is the same challenge that affects African businesses and consumers themselves: limited availability of broadband connectivity. In many countries, the state of the infrastructure is such that the quality of a subscriber’s video experience is the least of an operator’s concerns.
However, mobile operators and their networks move through a well-understood series of transitions beginning with a rise in smartphone penetration and accompanying data usage.
At a certain point, operators are faced with new imperatives; including the need to spur additional data consumption and the need to enable the network they have in place to accommodate this additional consumption. It’s at this point that we can help operators begin to make a cost-effective transition to data- and video-centricity.
How has the region developed over the last two years in terms of its broadband infrastructure?
Although the telecommunications market in Africa is still in the early stages of development compared to other geographies, it is also one of the fastest-growing in the world for mobile services. Significant investment is being made and there is widespread optimism about the direction the market is heading over the next few years.
According to the GSMA’s The Mobile Economy report of 2014, sub-Saharan Africa will be the fastest growing region for the next four years. The region’s mobile data traffic is forecasted to increase twenty times between 2013 and 2019──a rate roughly twice that of the global growth rate.
What are some of your targets for the region over the next two years?
The forecast for data growth in sub-Saharan Africa tells us that this region is at the starting point of a rising curve that a small collection of African operators──primarily in the north and south──has already travelled along.
While continuing to help our current customers cope with the implications of rising data and video, the next two years will be an opportune time to begin providing operators on either side of the equator with the tools to get the most out of their network investments and to deliver the best experience possible to their data subscribers.