Surprise! Akamai’s Mobile Play Isn’t About Video

Ericsson (s ERIC) and Akamai (s AKAM) Monday announced a strategic partnership that will embed Akamai’s content delivery technology into mobile networks. The solution could take advantage recent net neutrality rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission which gives mobile operators the ability to manage and prioritize the delivery of content on their networks.

The plan is for Ericsson and Akamai to add more intelligence into mobile networks by integrating Akamai’s technology into network equipment sold by Ericsson. Like Akamai’s CDN for the global Internet, the combined offering would route traffic more intelligently and add edge caching capabilities to mobile networks. The two new partners say this will help improve quality of experience, while also reducing network congestion and lowering the total cost of ownership for mobile networks.

For Akamai, the deal will allow it to get its hooks into mobile networks — a hot area of growth for the web overall. Through it’s wireline CDN business, the company has a pretty comprehensive view of the broader Internet, but offering services into mobile networks remains a bit of a blind spot for Akamai. For Ericsson, the partnership provides a value add and point of differentiation it can offer its mobile infrastructure customers.

Surprisingly enough, the partnership is not focused on alleviating the pain from video delivery, but aims to speed up e-commerce, banking and enterprise applications. Through the strategic partnership, Akamai says it could provide an opportunity for mobile network operators and content and application providers to develop new revenue streams through guaranteed quality of service.

By doing so, Akamai takes advantage of new net neutrality rules, as the business model could see content and application providers paying ISPs for improved mobile Internet services. The FCC ruled that CDNs didn’t violate net neutrality rules, but also said ISPs could not prioritize wireline network traffic.

But the Commission gave mobile operators more leeway in the way they could manage and monetize network traffic. With CDN technology built in to mobile networks, those operators could develop new revenue streams by charging content and app makers for faster delivery, giving them a similar revenue stream that Akamai and other CDNs have on the broader Internet.

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