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iPhone 5 Wreaks Havoc on Networks

The long-awaited, LTE-enabled iPhone 5 launched recently on most mobile operators’ networks worldwide, and has become the latest must-have device.  Operators were hoping that their networks would be able to withstand the onslaught of data traffic driven by the iPhone 5 and other devices boasting similar LTE functionality.  But it is wreaking havoc!

Since the launch of iPhone 5, several Tier 1 mobile network operators have observed that their LTE data traffic nearly doubled and DL throughput speeds rose by nearly 10 per cent. Our initial results based on the COPS™ reports we receive support the view that operators are experiencing significant impacts on their UMTS and LTE networks.

Let’s take a peek at the initial impact the iPhone 5 is having on 3G and 4G networks, based on critical KPIs:



In the complex and ever-changing mobile network environment, these initial impact reports on 3G UMTS and 4G LTE networks allow mobile network operators to understand more clearly why it is paramount to implement more proactive network readiness measures to deliver quality customer network experiences.

With the introduction of the LTE-capable iPhone 5, operators face the challenge of extending and optimising the subscribers’ experience not only on their 4G LTE networks but also on their 3G UMTS networks. Operators should establish pre- and post-smartphone launch processes for managing the impact of new smartphones on their wireless networks. It is imperative that the right set of tools is utilised in the correct sequence to achieve readiness for smartphone launches, and to manage the subscribers’ experience after the launch.

The presence of multiple radio technologies poses a further challenge to operators when they are optimising for better subscribers’ experience. Operators therefore need to have a multi-technology approach to optimising 4G and 3G networks to ensure a smooth transition.

In the pre-smartphone launch process, Celcite’s COPS™-Geo solution offers geo-located plots based on mobile measurements from the network, which are used to identify the data traffic hotspots in the network. Geo-based coverage and quality plots also help operators to identify areas of focus for capacity planning and optimisation.

During the post-smartphone launch process, COPS™-Geo helps operators to geo track the performance of devices like the iPhone 5 and correlate the performance with subscriber complaints and network issues. Once all the device issues are resolved and the underlying network is optimised, traffic balancing is the next step in the process.

Many Tier 1 mobile operators deploy COPS™-AIC and COPS™-SON to identify congestion issues and then automatically take action to shift traffic to less congested cells. It is imperative that the operators employ SON, not only for 4G LTE networks but also for existing 3G UMTS networks.

When your network team successfully utilises the correct solutions to complete each step in the pre and post smartphone launch processes, your network is iPhone 5 ready.

Can you imagine the effects of the next data surge, when the 2 million iPhone 5 backorders are received and an additional 12 countries are launched?  Stay tuned for updates.