Ericsson acknowledged the impact of mobile apps on the performance of mobile networks in its latest Mobility Report, noting: “The explosive growth of smartphone and app usage has put a new focus on cellular network performance.”

The report analysed the coverage needs for different mobile applications with voice, SMS and email being able to function furthest from base stations. However, music and video streaming and chat apps need to be closer to the centre of the cell due to their bandwidth requirements.

While web browsing, email and instant messaging requires around 100Kb/s to function, audio and video streaming needs around 1Mb/s to provide a good user experience.

“The level of network performance any given user experiences is also affected by the number of other users active in the cell and the demands their apps place on the network at any one time,” the report added.

Networks aren’t the only issue though, with some smartphones unable to access the fastest HSPA speeds and the majority unable to support LTE.

Ericsson notes that the proliferation of apps requires new ways of viewing network coverage: “A new approach that takes a diverse set of performance demands in consideration is needed.”