Will FaceTime on coming iPhone 5 crash LTE networks?
Carriers prepare with new technologies, data plans, but analysts say nobody knows what will happen when iOS 6-based devices arrive
Computerworld - Are the nation's LTE wireless carriers prepared for the video chat data crunch expected to come with the next-generation iPhone and other devices that are expected to launch this fall?
The answer: It depends on whom you ask.
Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless decline to say whether they are ready for the data crunch.
Over the summer, both carriers introduced data sharing plans that analysts believe were timed to help limit a surge in heavy data use expected especially with the use of Apple's FaceTime real-time video chat software on the iPhone.
"If I were a carrier, I'd be rather frightened by FaceTime," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. GoldAssociates. "If everybody used FaceTime, bandwidth would go up dramatically, and the user experience would go down."
Imposing data sharing plans with set fees for specific numbers of gigabytes a month -- and penalties for exceeding the set amounts -- could help top carriers AT&T and Verizon avoid data capacity overload problems on their 4G LTE, and even 3G, networks, Gold said.
"Requiring the data sharing plans is really just another way for carriers to say they are limiting your access," he added.
AT&T has come under fire in recent days for announcing plans to require users to sign up for a Mobile Share data plan in order to conduct FaceTime video chats over its current 3G and future cellular networks.
FaceTime will be available for cellular network use, instead of just over Wi-Fi, in mobile devices running the forthcoming iOS 6, which Apple announced earlier this year.
Sprint, the nation's number three carrier, has stood solidly behinds its unlimited data plans, and is just starting to roll out 4G LTE technology.
At an event to mark the activation of its 16th LTE location in Baltimore earlier this week, Sprint 4G engineering manager Viet Chu told reporters that "if some abuse the system [with heavy data use] we would address it." He didn't specify what steps the carrier may take.
Concerns about FaceTime's impact on cellular networks are particularly acute, partly because the iPhone is the top selling smartphone model worldwide and because the next model will reportedly support LTE, which would help make the device even more popular.
The upcoming iPhone is also expected to have a larger screen -- more than 4-inches compared to the current modle's 3.5-in. screen -- which would make video chats easier.
That creates problems for carriers because like most two-way chat apps, FaceTime is an enormous bandwidth hog.
Video chat often uses about 3 megabytes of data per minute, though the exact rate depends on encoded software, noted Wendy Cartee, vice president of product and technical marketing for JuniperNetworks.
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Google and Samsung grow cozier with patent deal, Motorola sale
- Should Sprint buy T-Mobile?
- iPhone, Samsung smartphone use by U.S. consumers jumps
- A mobile app reality check
- Verizon LTE getting AWS upgrades, even as execs admit to some performance 'hot spots'
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts