Date: June 16th, 2011

What happens when telecoms and cloud service providers can’t get along?

As cloud services snowball, they will place increasing strain on today’s telecom networks (in fact, the outlook is worse than you think; read this), putting their own performance quality in peril. The rockier things get, the more tempting it will be for telecom service providers and cloud service providers to pin the blame on one another in the public’s eye.

You can already see tensions starting to simmer: Netflix (NFLX) just updated the ranking of service providers it commenced after the high-profile spat between its CDN provider, Level 3 Communications (LVLT), and its competitor, Comcast (CMCSA). Though the ranking has the ironic side-effect of exonerating second-place Comcast, the message isn’t subtle: Carriers who displease us will be publicly shamed. And it comes from a company that produces 20% of all peak-time Internet traffic just by streaming a portion of its content online.

Telecom network providers, meanwhile, have their own complaints. At the Open Mobile Summit in London this month, some of Europe’s largest mobile operators called out app makers for clogging up their networks with excessive signaling – i.e., messages that update the current activity of the app are being sent too frequently. App makers are naturally incentivized to keep their apps chatting but less concerned about how that affects entire networks. So what are network owners to do?

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