The mobile web canna take much more

According to a new report from The Cloud and Exane BNP Paribas the networks used for mobile internet traffic are running the risk of breaking down and Wi-Fi is the tool to take off the pressure.

Well hit me sideways, the mobile web is proving just a little too popular for the networks – if you believe the reports – and if it wasn’t for Wi-Fi we’d all be surfing a very very slow web.

So is Wi-Fi really the solution? How are the networks going to enforce that? Sorry sir you’re near a Wi-Fi network so I’m going to have to kick you off. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen?

The Cloud release claims that the industry has become a “victim of its own success” with traffic on mobile networks increasing by a factor of 10 each year.

I’m not really sure how they define success here, as for years it’s been a standard joke that most of the networks wouldn’t understand the mobile Internet if it jumped up and bit them on the bum. They’re gradually understanding the internet because of the iPhone and networks like 3. If most networks had their way we’d still be downloading third-rate ringtones and wallpaper, and paying through the nose for texts.

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 earlier this month. 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.”

Yes I’m sure the Networks need more bandwidth, and I’d be very shocked if they didn’t have work in place to solve this little problem. Nice try The Cloud, which is shock horror a Wi-Fi network ;-)

Whatever you do don’t mention WiMax or LTE, it might upset The Cloud. Beam me up Scotty.

Grumpy Captain Mob