Mobile internet networks ‘at risk of meltdown’

Mobile networks

The networks dealing with mobile internet are on the verge of a "meltdown," according to of the UK's largest Wi-Fi provider.

The Cloud has released a report today claiming that the industry has become a "victim of its own success" with traffic on mobile networks increasing by a factor of 10 each year.

The report, co-authored by analyst firm Exane BNP Paribas, also forecast that user demand placed upon the mobile networks will be almost 100 times greater per mobile internet user in Britain by 2015 than it is today.

"Smartphones fundamentally change the way we use our mobile phone," said Steve Nicholson, chief executive (CEO) of The Cloud, in a statement.

"A smartphone typically consumes around 50 times more data than a standard feature phone there is a growing expectation that a phone can stream music, download files / photo's / video clips and even watch TV via the iPlayer hence the genie is now out of the bottle."

As a result of this increase, the two companies claim there will be severe network degradation and networks will already be struggling, if not on the verge of breaking this year.

The key to solving this problem lies within Wi-Fi, claims the report, supported by a similar report from the Royal Bank of Scotland. If people begin to use roaming Wi-Fi networks when on the move rather than 3G, the pressure would be taken off and networks would be able to handle the increased capacity.

"[Customers'] primary interest is how fast and easily the can update their status on Facebook, or download a video on YouTube whenever and wherever they are cheaply," added Nicholson.

"Recognising this trend and acknowledging it is not something that can be contained is a tough call for the mobile industry Ultimately the best device to enable the connection and easy access is what the customer is going to choose be that a mobile phone or a more device that is Wi-Fi enabled."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.