2010 – year of the bottleneck

2010 has arrived, and with it comes the unleashing of the iPhone on new mobile networks. End users will be happy, for a while, until they experience the knock-on effect of skyrocketing data traffic. Mobile networks are being swamped. Unlike the networks in places like Japan (where real 3G has been around for a while), many western mobile infrastructures are still working through their transition to 3G (or even 4G) and are trying to make do with solutions developed in the pre-iPhone era. Back in March of last year we saw reports of AT&T being sued because of the poor iPhone experience on their network. The innovative device led to an unanticipated massive growth in mobile data usage. More recently, O2 has admitted to having data traffic problems in London.

Now that the iPhone will be available on competing networks, let’s hope the competition has been watching and learning, and is prepared for the onslaught. Otherwise it will be the consumer that suffers: dropped calls, slow connections, tiered rates, usage caps, no tethering and other tricks the operators can come up with to depress usage.

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