3G has been around for a couple of years but I guess even at the congress, networks have only been lightly loaded in the past as most people were still using 2G phones.
This year, things are a lot different. Except for ‘proud’ Berry owners, most other people these days carry a 3G phone and are using it heavily to make calls. I’ve also seen people skipping the Wifi coverage, which is a bit slow at times from what I have heard, and instead use their 3G PC card to access the Internet.
One of the toughest 3G environments in the world must be hall 8 this week with all major mobile phone manufacturers being present and showing their latest and greatest phones using the four public 3G networks. There must be hundreds of phones in this hall using the networks simultaneously and still they manage to show their online demos with good performance.
Every now and then I go online as well to get my eMails and to post my blog entries with my mobile phone. The network feels a bit slower in the halls than elsewhere but still I get my work done.
I think this speaks for a number of things. Firstly, all operators on site must have made sure their networks have enough capacity. It also shows UMTS is able to perform well in such demanding environments. And lastly, I think that 3G network use for both voice and data this year at the conference is most likely is higher than the use of the GSM networks.
The public does not seem too far behind. Yesterday, T-Mobile announced a revenue of 1 billion (dollars?) from data services excluding SMS in their group last year. Agreed, this is only a tiny fraction of their overall revenue, but data use has increased 8 times over the previous year and the amount of data transfered is doubling every quarter. Looks like competitive and attractive prices for mobile data finally get the mobile Internet train rolling.