Light Reading
The near-doubling of 4G users on LTE networks in the US could cause data congestion and slowdowns in towns and cities on the new networks

iPhone 5 Could Cause Local Data Crunches in US

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
9/21/2012
50%
50%

The near-doubling of Long Term Evolution (LTE) users on U.S. networks in the coming days and weeks -- thanks to the iPhone 5 -- could cause localized data congestion and slowdowns that will mostly affect existing users of 4G smartphones and tablets.

Light Reading Mobile caught up with Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics , Friday afternoon after the launch of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s first 4G smartphone to talk about the likely impact of the device on AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Verizon Wireless 's fledgling LTE networks.

(Check out What We Mean When We Say '4G' if you want a refresher on what LTE actually is.) RootMetrics surveys 3G and 4G network performance, with help from an app that users can install on their own smartphones. Moore says the testing area covers the "top 75 urbanized areas" in the United States.

So what's going to happen with the new iPhone, Bill?

The bad news
Moore estimates there are up to 12 million to 13 million 4G LTE users currently in the U.S., and "they're predicting the iPhone 5 could sell 10 million in the first week," he says.

"That's a lot of new people on 4G all of a sudden. You've got a kind of doubling effect that could occur across the various networks, so that could lead to congestion and slowdowns," suggests Moore. "Plus, LTE users use their phone for data much more than 3G users, so that's going to be a challenge."

He suspects that -- given the still spotty nature of 4G LTE deployments -- any impact will be felt in specific towns or cities rather than nationwide.

"It isn't going to crunch every city. It's going to be localized if it happens," he says "The slowdown would be experienced by people that are already on the network."

That's most likely to be someone with an Android smartphone, as it happens. Verizon, for instance, sold 2.5 million Droids in the second quarter. (See iPhone 5: A 4G Stress Test.)

The mitigating factors
Wireless being the fluid, shared medium that it is, Moore stresses that it is difficult to give any exact predictions about iPhone LTE coverage and problems.

Much, he suggests, depends on how "informed" the average consumer is about 4G LTE and whether they know that Big Red's 370-plus LTE footprint dwarfs its nearest rival in coverage across the U.S. -- although Verizon's pioneering 4G push means its network is also the heaviest loaded LTE network in the U.S. so far.

  • If many people switch to Verizon as their 4G provider over AT&T, it could stress some of Verizon's 4G towns and cities.
  • If AT&T's users stick by them for LTE and get the traditional iPhone subscriber bump, it could spell trouble for some of that operator's 72 LTE cities. (See AT&T Touts Best-Ever iPhone Sales.)
  • Sprint? Moore expects it's least likely to be affected.


The ironic twist
Apple and its carrier partners could be saved by the very success of the iPhone. Apple sold more than 2 million in pre-sales, so shipping dates for many of the devices have been pushed out by two weeks or more.

This could give carriers time to examine the impact of the new iPhone and start to put load-balancing and capacity measures in place to deal with the anticipated influx of data-hungry 4G iPhonistas.

Check out more of our iPhone 5 coverage here.

— Dan "Dick Clark" Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:36 PM
re: iPhone 5 Could Cause Local Data Crunches in US


Let us know if you experience congestion with your new iPhone or existing LTE Android. DJ.

joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:26 PM
re: iPhone 5 Could Cause Local Data Crunches in US


Definitely not enough for evidence yet but could this be an early sign of data crunches I wonder. I will ask Verizon but it not likely something they want to admit.

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration

11|21|14   |   04:29   |   (7) comments


At the Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how SDN has reshaped the discussion around packet and optical integration.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Highlights at BBWF 2014

11|20|14   |   3:40   |   (1) comment


Broadband World Forum is one of the world's largest telecoms, media and technology events with over 7,800 senior executives from across the globe converging on Amsterdam every year to identify the Next Big Thing. BBWF is an exciting place to meet the entire industry under one roof and identify the latest in network innovation, service optimization and customer ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Will BCMS Stimulate Margin for Broadband Operators?

11|19|14   |   6:52   |   (0) comments


In BBWF 2014, Liu Shuqing emphasizes the value of FMC 2.0 based full service experience by throwing light on the BCMS solution. The underlying principle of this innovative technique is to create network robustness and driving network from connection oriented to ACE – BAND oriented infrastructure, in which applications, cloud, and user experiences will be an asset ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
SingleFAN3.0: Better Connected Experience

11|19|14   |   3:06   |   (1) comment


At the BBWF 2014, David Hu, the VP of Huawei Access Network Product Line, talked about the future of access networks – SingleFAN3.0: faster broadband, wider coverage, and smarter connection.
LRTV Interviews
Basil Alwan Interview: The Road to Cloud

11|19|14   |   09:09   |   (0) comments


Alcatel-Lucent's head of IP and Transport talks about the migration towards a web-like networking environment, the impact of the cloud, SDN and NFV, and the yet-to-be-announced FP4 chip.
LRTV Documentaries
FairPoint Makes a Fair Point About Analytics

11|19|14   |   1:56   |   (1) comment


The US-based communication service provider gets to grips with advanced analytics, tackling data and breaking down the silos within its own business.
LRTV Documentaries
Analytics Lets C Spire Get to Know Subs

11|19|14   |   3:01   |   (2) comments


It's all about the data for US operator C Spire as it uses analytics to personalize its customer service down to individual subscribers.
LRTV Interviews
Nuage Branches Out With SDN: CEO Interview

11|17|14   |   9:32   |   (0) comments


Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent's SDN-focused unit Nuage Networks, talks about the opportunities and challenges of breaking out of the data center into wide-area networks.
Light Reedy
Telecom Analytics Grows Up

11|14|14   |   1:15   |   (4) comments


The big data analytics debate has moved on from a year ago, with some experts suggesting it's no longer a technology challenge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Compass

11|14|14   |   3:17   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Shuo Yang, Huawei Principal Cloud Infrastructure Architect introduced Huawei Compass, the software tool for solving customers' problems on the journey of OpenStack Cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Cloud Strategy in European Region

11|14|14   |   2:56   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dr. Gotz, CTO of Huawei IT in European Region introduced Huawei's cloud strategy in European region.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Contribution on OpenStack

11|14|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dennis Gu, Huawei Chief Architect of Cloud Computing introduced the relationship between OpenStack and cloud computing, and Huawei's contribution on OpenStack.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 12, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 11/20/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed