May 9, 2012 7:23 pm
Data overload threatens mobile networks
By Paul Taylor in New York
Back in the early 2000s mobile network operators were clamouring to sign up new subscribers to “unlimited” data plans to offset what they correctly perceived to be a steady decline in mobile voice revenues.
But, in a startling validation of the adage “be careful what you wish for”, mobile operators in the US in particular are now scrambling to keep pace with a smartphone and tablet PC-driven mobile data tsunami that threatens to overwhelm their networks.
The twin issues of the data overload and spectrum crunch have been key themes at the wireless industry’s CTIA conference in New Orleans this week.
“There is no debate over the fact that there is a looming spectrum crunch,” says Dan Mead, chief executive of Verizon Wireless, in a keynote session at the conference.
Mobile data traffic on the networks of both Verizon Wireless , the largest US mobile network operator by subscribers, and its closest rival, AT&T Mobile, has been doubling every year for the past five years, amid the growing popularity of data-hungry mobile video streaming and downloads.