Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Too many damn BlackBerries?

FP Tech Desk: Wireless network congestion the first big story of 2010?
December 29, 2009 by Matt Hartley
A second major international carrier -- this time it's the United Kingdom's O2 -- is publicly admitting it has provided poor wireless services to its customers as a result of data-intensive smart phones such as the iPhone congesting its network.

“Where we haven’t met our own high standards then there’s no question, we apologise to customers for that fact,” O2 chief executive officer Ronan Dunne told The Financial Times. “But it would be wrong to say that O2 has failed its customers en masse.”

A few months back, AT&T chief technology officer John Donovan admitted that the U.S. carrier had struggled to keep up with the demand for more wireless broadband on its network and that users employing devices such as the iPhone were overloading the system.

“It’s been a challenging year for us,” Mr. Donovan told The New York Times. “Overnight we’re seeing a radical shift in how people are using their phones,” he said. “There’s just no parallel for the demand.”

As Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis told us in our exclusive interview, there's a finite amount of electromagnetic spectrum out there, and wireless carriers will need to work with device manufacturers to figure out a way to bring innovative mobile Web experiences to users without gumming up the rest of the network.

While mobile Web usage and data fees represent a potential gold mine of new revenues for carriers, those services can't come at the expense of the user experience. If users continue to experience poor service and dropped calls when using devices such as the iPhone, they won't be willing to continue to pay those high prices for data.

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