How will our telcos fare on iPhone 5s and 5c launch day in Malaysia?

  • TECH
  • Monday, 28 Oct 2013


Malaysian carriers prepping for Nov 1 order/activation rush can help their cause with Application Performance Management system.

Christmas is coming early – Nov 1, to be exact – for wireless carriers, Apple fan boys (and fan girls of course) as well as most smartphone and gadget enthusiasts in Malaysia. After months of speculation and watching in envy as consumers in our neighbouring countries grab Apple’s latest offerings, the iPhone 5s and 5c will finally be available in this country.

In September this year, Apple introduced its new flagship iPhone 5s and lower-priced, plastic-shelled iPhone 5c in Cupertino and if history is an indicator – the iPhone 5 sold 74.6 million units in the second half of last year, up 38% from the previous year – there will be a lot of consumers running out and lining up in front of stores the night before to buy the new devices. 

Yes, the initial reaction to Apple’s iPhone 5s announcement seems to be a bit more muted compared to previous announcements, but I think there will still be a rush of folks looking to refresh older phones (iPhone 4S and older) as well as new Apple customers drawn in by the lower cost iPhone 5C and its candy colour options come Nov 1.

Application Performance Management delivers best customer experience

When the iPhone 3G first went on sale in Malaysia back in March 2009, there was only one telco that carried them. You wanted an iPhone; you went through this one telco. While I am sure they took great care in offering the best customer experience and ensuring the process of getting the hot new iPhone was as painless as possible, they didn’t have the added pressure of anyone going to the competition over a bad experience. Neither did they have to worry about receiving flack on social media back then.

Today though, all the major carriers in Malaysia offer the iPhone. It is even more important for them to offer a seamless experience to those rushing out to get the new device. They wouldn’t want to alienate customers and suffer brand damage when disgruntled users take to Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms to vent. 

That’s where a robust application performance management (APM) system comes into play: To help mitigate performance problems and deliver a great end-user experience.

According to the Nielsen’s Smartphone Insights Study 2013, Malaysia has one of the higher smartphone ownerships in the region at 27% with Thailand (28%) and the Philippines (29%) having only marginally higher percentages of smartphone users. With smartphone ownership and usage in Malaysia expecting to reach critical mass in Malaysia within the coming year, APM has become more crucial than ever before.

iPhone activations not only hit the carrier systems, there is also integration to Apple’s network. System operators at the individual carriers need to have visibility into the entire transaction to be able to determine if a) a problem exists in their network and fix it quickly, and b) if the problem is somewhere in Apple’s network.

They also have to ensure point of sale systems, both online and in-store, can handle the rush of people looking to be one of the first with the new devices. Hopefully problems don’t exist in any pieces of the puzzle, but it’s always good to have deep understanding of performance at all tiers.

BOYD spurring Malaysian smartphone trends

This growing BYOD trend in Malaysia clearly indicates the susceptibility of the local market for software that could potentially make the adoption of the smart phone trend more efficient.

CA Application Performance Management ensures that carrier systems by local telecommunications providers are able to handle the surge in orders at its on ground stores. CA APM’s ability to provide visibility into both the application and network layers allowed the operator to quickly pinpoint performance degradations in the order chain and get them fixed quickly.

A view into the application stack alone would not have cut it, as a few of the performance issues that did arise were in the WAN.

This year, our wireless carrier customers using CA APM 9.5 with Application Behaviour Analytics will have an extra set of eyes helping them look for possible problems and find root cause more quickly. Rather than just relying on exceeded thresholds, Application Behaviour Analytics can look at the relationship between components to see if something is going awry and warn of the anomaly.

iPhone for Christmas, anyone?

Of course, the advice to have a good APM solution in place applies to more than just telecoms. While many will see a big spike in a couple weeks with the new iPhones, financial institutions have their own busy periods at end of month or end of quarters and we all know what retailers will face in the coming months as we lead up to Christmas (only less than 2 months as of this writing!)

Malaysians love their smartphones – smartphone penetration increased by 16% from 2012 to 2013 with 47% smartphone penetration in 2012 attributed to daily Internet users.

Even as ownership registered a 16% increase to 63% for 2013, an additional 17% would still buy a smartphone in the next six months. There is no denying that the market is only going to get bigger, and this will significantly impact the iPhone adoption rate in this country.

Thus service providers and carriers should really get serious about planning ahead and ensuring that come crunch time, they enjoy greater sales of the iPhone and customers walk away happy with their brand new and shiny ‘Christmas present’ and the experience of purchasing it from their respective provider.

Stephen Miles is CA Technologies vice-president service assurance, Asia Pacific and Japan.

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