30 September 2009

Data both blessing and curse for mobile telecoms

3G cards or sticks that allow people to get online via the mobile network from anywhere have come to symbolise how a goldmine of surging data traffic risks becoming a nightmare for mobile operators. Dongles are often sold with a flat-rate data plan, or with a subscription allowing a certain number of megabits of data to be used. They are fuelling a boom in mobile data traffic that is so heavy it is putting unprecedented stress on networks. Yet even as traffic explodes, revenues from these new services aren't keeping up because of the intense pressure on prices -- so investment in improvements risks squeezing margins.