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Warning on surge in wireless traffic

Discussion in 'Wireless News' started by Kalimotxo, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Kalimotxo

    Kalimotxo Bronze Senior Member
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    Great article...

    AT&T - "The top 3 per cent of its smartphone customers were responsible for 40 per cent of data usage, consuming 13 times more than the average smartphone user."

    FT.com / US / Society - Warning on surge in wireless traffic

    Warning on surge in wireless traffic
    By Joseph Menn in San Francisco and Chris Nuttall in San Diego
    Published: October 7 2009 20:53 | Last updated: October 7 2009 20:53
    The head of the US Federal Communications Commission warned on Wednesday that there is not enough room in the airwaves for the “explosion” in wireless data traffic, setting the stage for a big realignment of spectrum usage as the government tries to help mobile carriers keep up with consumer demand.

    “The biggest threat to the future of mobile in America is the looming spectrum crisis,” said Julius Genachowski, the Obama administration appointee who took over as head of the five-member FCC in late June.

    Mr Genachowski noted that what had been seen as a big auction of spectrum last year helped cap a three-fold surge in the amount of commercial spectrum available. “The problem is, many anticipate a 30-fold increase in wireless traffic,” he said at the CTIA wireless industry convention in San Diego.

    The forum was designed to mend bridges with the industry, which was upset by the FCC’s recent declaration that carriers should be stopped from favouring some types of internet traffic over others. On Tuesday, that stance prompted AT&T to allow voice-over-internet calls from iPhones.

    “This is a clarion call to wake up the troops, to wake up the world and get people to focus,” said telecom policy analyst Rebecca Arbogast of Stifel Nicolaus.

    As an indicator of the bottleneck ahead, AT&T has been overwhelmed with a 5,000 per cent increase in wireless data consumption in three years, driven by the minority of customers who own Apple’s iPhone. For now, AT&T is the exclusive US carrier for that device.

    “We’re seeing a disproportionate number of users driving consumption,” Ralph de la Vega, AT&T Mobility president, said at the conference. “If we don’t find a way to keep them from crowding out others, we’re going to have a very significant issue.”

    Mr de la Vega said the top 3 per cent of its smartphone customers were responsible for 40 per cent of data usage, consuming 13 times more than the average smartphone user. With new smartphones that have software from Google and others coming, and the prospects of wider distribution of broadband-enabled notebook PCs, the demands for connectivity will continue to jump geometrically. “AT&T is the canary in the coal mine,” Ms Arbogast said.

    Mr Genachowski said the needed bandwidth must come from multiple places, including promising new technologies like “smart antennas” and femtocells.

    The government itself will have to give up some of the spectrum it has reserved for various agencies, which use those parts of the airwaves sparingly.

    In addition, the multi-year process of reallocation, in which spectrum that has been given over to one commercial use gets reclaimed and resold for other uses, must also get under way.

    The FCC has said it is looking for ways to measure what spectrum usage is serving the public best. The agency wants a system of incentives that would induce spectrum owners to return what they are not using. “We must identify spectrum that can best be reinvested in mobile broadband,” Mr Genachowski said.

    Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web
     
  2. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    AT&T should enfore a bandwidth cap on these mega-data users.
    Probably a cap of around 300 Kbps, and the network would improve for almost everyone else.
     
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  3. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    I'm really, really skeptical about "data traffic forcasts", because really, nobody knows. The article above even proves that, since I'm sure AT&T 3 years ago did not forcast a 5,000% increase in data traffic. So to predict a "30-fold increase in data traffic" may as just well be a 10-fold or 100-fold....

    ...but anyway, regardless of who pulls what number out of the air, I agree with the FCC that they do need to free up more spectrum :) ...as well as having the operators look into alternative ways to solve spectrum congestion, like femtocells, smart antennas, etc :) ...basically, do everything possible and hope it's enough... and stop playing with numbers like 30-fold ;)
     
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