Is 3G data about to reach capacity?

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A sign of things to come?

So, the smart phone and tablet  is becoming very popular and is likely to be one of this Christmas’s big sellers – this means that 3G networks around the world will be heavily tested by an onslaught of data-hungry smartphones from the start of 2011 says a report on the Top Ten Wireless Predictions for 2011.

So what is the new year likely to bring, and just what are the networks going to do about it?

Top Ten Wireless Predictions 2011:

1. Surging Mobile Data Traffic
2. Augmented Reality to Enhance Mobile Games and Retail
3. Cloud-Based Operating Systems are Launched
4. Mobile Banking will become a “must-have” when opening a new account
5. Mobile Devices Begin to Replace Credit Cards
6. Mobile Handsets Become Even More Sensitive
7. Mobile Lottery Tickets Sales to Soar Fuelled by Deployments in US, Europe, and China
8. Mobile-Specific Threats Lead to Demand for Mobile-Specific Security
9. Buyouts take Social Purchasing to a New Level
10. More Vendors Develop a “GreenHeart”

Network operators have already started to combat the “consumer smart phone boom” by putting in place tiered data pricing and phasing out unlimited data plans, but these measures may not be enough to ease the pressure on the already congested networks. Tiered pricing (and the use of WiFi as capacity relief) may serve to alleviate the problem to a certain extent, but until we see mass deployments of much faster LTE networks (and, equally important, devices that are LTE-capable), then operators face a nervous period of attempting to manage the transition.

We have also seen in 2009 and 2010 mobile application developers embrace Augmented Reality (AR) using it to enhance local search and reference. Next year consumers can expect to see an influx of AR applications produced by the retail industry – locations and products will be geotagged with brand-specific information and consumers might even get to try on virtual clothes before buying them online. Game developers will also jump on the AR trend in 2011.

Mobile phone payment systems will start being adopted by mainstream users within the next year as handsets that support the technology arrive in the market. On December 5 Google unveiled its forthcoming Nexus S smart phone with integrated NFC (Near Field Communication) for mobile payment. Apple is largely rumored to be investigating mobile payment systems too for its next generation iPhone.

Additional predictions for the wireless industry in 2011 include the launch of cloud-based operating systems and mobile handsets that are equipped with enhanced sensitivity.

On a down side it is also predicted that next year will see mobile devices targeted with malicious threats resulting in the need for mobile-specific security.

The market is about to become a victim of its own success – it only feels like yesterday that the delay of text messages at New Year were annoying – how things change, lets just hope that the industry is up to the challenge!

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