Light Reading

iPhone 5 Could Cause Local Data Crunches in US

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

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.

Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
Report: NFV/SDN Standards 'Myopic' on Service Management
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed