The battle of the SmartPhone and its effect on mobile networks

Third generation (3G) mobile networks are also suffering from the knock on effects of the snow. To be honest I am not surprised, we have recently seen an explosion in the download of ‘Apps’, mainly down to the mass adoption of the Apple iPhone.  The Apple app store has gone from an incredible two  to three  billion downloads in the last four months. This staggering figure undeniably puts further pressure on mobile network providers; O2, Orange, Vodafone and Tesco (although Tesco use the O2 network).

The app’s available to customers on the iPhone are without doubt one of its key differentiators and a very significant part of its current competitive advantage.  However, Google’s exciting new release Android looks set to challenge their stronghold.

It’s important to take a minute though and think about how this increase in competition between the two manufacturers will affect consumers.  Demand for apps will start to become a basic expectation for mobile users in the next few years rather than the luxury of a select few.

Increased consumer demand for Apps are already proving a challenge for networks.  O2 were reported to experience limited network availability just before Christmas.

At the moment apps are mainly used in mass by iPhone users. iPhone users currently run one application at a time, therefore only running one update across the network at that time. However, Google’s Android can run multiple applications thus multiple updates, opening up our networks to increased congestion.

I think 2010 will be an interesting year for mobile network providers, as they all seek to raise their game and accommodate demand. What’s bad for us (consumers) is the immediate answer is to cap bandwidth and increase prices. We could also potentially suffer from reduced availability.

One thing’s for sure; 2010 WILL be the battle of the SmartPhone – Android vs iPhone.  It will also be a battle for the providers… let’s hope when fourth generation (4G) mobile networks come of age in the next five years that such network capacity will be a thing of the past…  🙂

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