AT&T CTO: Forecasts for mobile data need rethink - Mobile World Live

AT&T CTO: Forecasts for mobile data need rethink

01 SEP 2010

With an increasing number of operators experiencing unprecedented growth in data traffic, the CTO of AT&T Wireless, John Donovan, has said that the traditional model for forecasting mobile data growth is dead.

“The ability to transform the capabilities of handsets with software apps can significantly alter how it loads the network. The situation can become very dynamic, and it’s not just where the smartphone might be located or how many might be used,” said Donovan. “We need to be far more sophisticated with measuring how data is being consumed.”

The CTO, who is in charge of a mobile network that has probably been at the forefront of data growth but also received a considerable amount of criticism regarding its network quality, claimed that smartphone data usage was set by the app developer and customer. Speaking yesterday at the Congress session ‘Network Breaking Point’, Donovan stated that the best approach to cope with data traffic growth was to provide app developers with the tools and ecosystem so they can build more efficient apps.

“We have a long way to go to make devices more effective in the network. App developers and smartphone vendors must take into consideration the impact on the network of their products,” said Donovan. However, he also accepted that AT&T had to do all it could to improve the efficiency of its network, and interestingly didn’t consider network off-load as part of a ‘fix-all’ solution.

Accepting the ever-changing environment, Donovan concluded with the warning that a new app appearing on the network can radically change the loading. “You can never declare victory.”

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