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Verizon Not Yet Breaking a Sweat Over iPhone Traffic

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Verizon’s (s vz) network is doing fine under the additional strain of new iPhones(s aapl), according to research performed by web application performance firm Compuware Gomez. In fact, Verizon’s mobile data performance is virtually the same as it was before the iPhone’s introduction.

Compuware Gomez performed data performance measurements for data performance on the Verizon network during the first four days of iPhone availability (Feb. 10-13). The iPhone went on sale at Verizon beginning Feb. 10, but pre-sales began on Feb. 3, and many customers had working iPhones in their hands by the time Feb. 10 arrived. Some estimates put Verizon iPhone pre-sales at as many as 500,000 units, and the number of users switching to Verizon from AT&T (s t) specifically for the iPhone are thought to be somewhere between 70 and 100,000. Verizon may not have seen the long lines on launch day many expected, but Compuware Gomez estimates that between 500,000 and 700,000 new iPhone users were accessing the Verizon network during its initial few days of availability. In theory, that could translate to increased demand, although that those numbers are spread out across the nation and include existing customers might mitigate the effect.

The wireless data performance analysis unit of Compuware Gomez gathers its data from a network of actual device end-users that numbers in the thousands, located across the U.S. These users provide everyday usage data that accurately reflects what the average Verizon iPhone owner would be experiencing in terms of browsing and page-load times, which is how the firm measures performance. Compuware CTO of APM Solutions Imad Mouline sums up the results:

We’re just four days in, but our measurements show that real-world data users on Verizon Wireless are experiencing no noticeable performance degradation due to the influx of new iPhone users on the network.

iPhone users have been shown to be data-hogs when it comes to mobile bandwidth (though Android users have recently been shown to be even more so), so it comes as a small surprise that Compuware found virtually no change (four-tenths of 1 percent) in performance following the Verizon iPhone’s introduction, as compared to a sample taken during a four-day period the week before. Verizon might just have a network that’s better equipped to handle rapid growth, or maybe the bandwidth throttling it’s using to limit network congestion is having the desired effect. Kevin predicted that the introduction of the iPhone wouldn’t significantly affect Verizon network performance, but it’s still quite early to make any definitive conclusions.

Obviously, it’s early days yet, but the results so far from Compuware Gomez seem to indicate that Verizon is having a much better time handling iPhone customers than AT&T. We’ll see if that continues to be the case as Verizon’s share of the iPhone market continues to grow. Gene Munster, for example, sees sales of 1.5 million iPhones for this quarter, with many more to follow as the year proceeds. The strain on Verizon’s network could be just getting started.

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7 Responses to “Verizon Not Yet Breaking a Sweat Over iPhone Traffic”

  1. Uh oh, Verizon’s got itself into a bit of hot water with the old FCC. An outage during a snowstorm last month has reportedly resulted in a whopping 10,000 calls to 911 not being connected by the big red carrier. That would be bad enough in itself, but the less-than-pleased Communications Commission also notes that the emergency services that missed out on these calls were not alerted to the connectivity failure — in fact, Maryland’s Montgomery County officers were the ones to inform Verizon of the fault it was having, which was then promptly repaired within 15 minutes. The FCC is now curtly asking the network to check its entire footprint for similar vulnerabilities — as the January events were apparently “not unique” — and to propose remedial actions and monitoring systems to prevent it happening again.
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  2. Why would the traffic go up with iPhone Unless some of the iPhone owners are new to the smartphone universe ?

    It shows that most of the existing smartphone users jumped the ship from Android / Windows/ BB/ WebOS to iPhone.

    • Blackberry uses a trivial amount of data, partially because it’s so efficient, and partially because it’s so aggravating to use it for anything outside of plain old email. Android uses more data than iPhone users typically do. So the influx of data usage is probably about the same, but the truth of the matter is that Verizon knows how to run a network better than anyone else.