Ericsson, Tencent and SmarTone optimize Hong Kong network for WeChat performance

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The FINANCIAL — Ericsson, Tencent and SmarTone are collaborating to optimize the Hong Kong operator’s mobile network for performance of WeChat, a social networking app developed by Tencent with 650 million monthly active users worldwide.

Ericsson is leading this initiative using its App Experience Optimization offering, launched at Mobile World Congress 2015. For this engagement, App Experience Optimization has been enhanced with the ability to generate a real-time “app coverage map”. This map provides a visual representation of the quality of experience enjoyed by WeChat users.

WeChat is one of the world’s most popular social networking apps. In addition to text and voice messaging, WeChat supports functionality such as multimedia messaging, sharing of GPS location, public accounts that can be used by organizations to communicate with their customers, payments and money transfers, and e-government services, according toEricsson.

With users now spending the majority of time on their smartphones using apps, app coverage and user experience are key drivers of customer loyalty. App Experience Optimization is a service that transforms how operators optimize their networks to meet the new demands created by a fast-evolving app ecosystem. The service addresses this challenge by providing a true picture of the local app experience and correlating this with network-related key performance indicators (KPIs). Ericsson Network Design and Optimization experts then optimize for app experience, drawing upon global experience, tools and methods.

Ericsson Network Design and Optimization experts are working with SmarTone and Tencent to collect WeChat service KPIs based on anonymized usage performance and location from real subscribers, and correlated them with network KPIs. The results are used to create an app coverage map and to identify optimization opportunities in the WeChat app, its supporting servers and in SmarTone’s network. The app coverage map depicts the app experience using simple green/yellow/red color coding, with green indicating good app experience and red indicating poor app experience. Engineers can use the app coverage map to visualize performance bottlenecks and as a benchmark when optimizing the app or the network.

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Frank Fu, Senior Product Manager of WeChat Department at Tencent, says: “Our app developers are always working to ensure that all of our apps provide a great end-user experience. We need to work with operators such as SmarTone to ensure that we have a good understanding about how our apps are performing in specific locations on specific networks. With Ericsson’s App Experience Optimization service, we are able to do just that.”

Stephen Chau, Interim CEO at SmarTone, says: “As a customer-centric company, we relentlessly enhance the customer experience. With this newly launched App Experience Optimization service, we are able to optimize the app performance of WeChat, providing an enhanced user experience to our customers.”

Staffan Pehrson, Vice President of Network Rollout, Support & Optimization at Ericsson, says: “WeChat is a tremendously useful app whose user base is growing extremely fast, from 600 million monthly active users at the end of June 2015 to 650 million monthly active users at the end of September. Both Tencent and SmarTone are keen to ensure that WeChat works optimally, and so we’re working together to achieve that goal by leveraging Ericsson’s network optimization expertise.”

App Experience Optimization will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.


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