updated 10:15 am EST, Mon February 11, 2008
O2: Heavy iPhone data use
The iPhone is generating "unheard-of levels of mobile Internet usage," according to Vivek Dev, COO of Telefˇnica O2 Europe, the sole carrier of the device in the United Kingdom. Web browsing and e-mail are two of the primary purposes of the iPhone, and O2 customers have unlimited use under current plans. Traffic is said to be so high in fact that it is straining O2's network, and this is only expected to become worse as the company switches to flat data fees. Voice and SMS plans were recently upgraded.
Partly to aid the situation, the company has announced a deal with NEC and Ubiquisys that should see a commercial release of femtocells by early 2009. Femtocells extend and improve the coverage of 3G broadband within indoor areas, where reception can otherwise be rough or non-existent. In O2's case this will have the benefit of redirecting some data onto DSL lines, where the company has more excess capacity. The iPhone does not currently have 3G, but a version with the technology is expected by the end of 2008.