Ericsson doesn’t think the growing demand for mobile data will overwhelm existing telecommunications networks, a rare thought in the smartphone world, and an even rarer one coming from a telecommunications gear vendor. In a release Friday, Ericsson quotes Tomas Sandin, its mobile broadband expert, to emphasize that the networks are coping, but the coverage needs to be better. According to Sandin:
“We have to put a stop to the perception that traffic growth is a current critical problem. It’s not. All that’s needed is improved network coverage. Data traffic will not grow exponentially in the long run. The short-term growth is exponential, yes, but not over time. While a smartphone uses, on average, 10 times as much data as an ordinary 3G phone, 3G radio is at the same time 10 times more efficient so it evens out. Data traffic growth can be managed provided operators do the necessary upgrades.”
The gear maker is apparently trying the opposite tactic of rival Cisco in communicating with potential customers. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index inspires fear and panic into the hearts of operators by claiming 75 exabytes of mobile traffic will flow across their networks in 2015. Ericsson’s approach seems to be more relaxed, although it’s clearly aimed at keeping operators moving forward with an upgrade path. Meanwhile, if carriers are using the argument of capacity constraint to justify everything from price changes to a reason why network neutrality could never work on wireless networks, I’m interested in hearing more from Ericsson on its thesis. Will an upgrade really be enough to meet the coming mobile broadband demand?
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