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The data-hungry 4G reflects the use of virtual personal assistant Siri, which was introduced in October with the latest generation iPhone.
Compared with the iPhone 3G, data usage for the iPhone 4 was three times as high, while the iPad 2 consumed 2.5 times more, making the latest iPhone hungrier than the computer tablet for data, according to telecom network technology firm Arieso.
Demand for today’s next-generation smartphones has placed more pressure on available carrier bandwidth as users intensify app and video downloads and become more reliant on their mobile devices.
Arieso warned in the study that carriers need to prepare for a heavy stream of new demand for smartphones as technologies improve, especially since the sudden rise in data consumption has been demanding on wireless operators, pressuring them to speed up capacity investments.
“The capacity crunch is still a very real threat for mobile operators, and it looks set to only get harder in 2012,” said Arieso chief technology officer Dr. Michael Flanagan.
“Without adequately preparing networks to support the new generation of smart devices, operators risk spiraling and misplaced operational expenditure and delivering a sub-par quality of experience to customers,” he said.
Despite an industry-wide issue, only a few operators have publicly admitted to the problem of keeping pace with data traffic. While they are all hoping to profit from the social media and smartphone boom, they still struggle with dwindling demand for traditional voice calls and a system that is becoming increasingly clogged.
“It’s critical that operators redouble their efforts to limit the impact of this inevitable squeeze,” Flanagan said.