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RAIN 9/3: Data-hungry iPhones clogging AT&T network

Posted on: 09/03/2009


Turns out those cool Apple iPhones are bandwidth hogs, according to an article in today’s New York Times, and their use is bogging down AT&T’s network and hampering service for customers on the network.

“Not only do iPhone owners download applications, stream music and videos and browse the Web at higher rates than the average smartphone user,” writes The Times, “but the average iPhone owner can also use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user.” The result: streams stutter, calls get dropped, downloads “time out,” and text messages are delayed. And experts warn that what’s now mostly AT&T’s (the exclusive carrier for iPhones) problem will likely spread to other carriers as other smart phones grow in popularity.

Frank McCoy, writing in RadioWorld, says this bandwidth bottleneck presents a significant hurdle for Internet radio. He describes the current Internet protocol delivery system as the equivalent of needing a separate lane on the highway for each car. “The greatest appeal of Internet radio remains its most fundamental problem: the requirement that every user have a separate, custom-per-user data stream,” he writes.

Cisco says mobile data traffic is likely to double every year through 2013. Meanwhile, carriers are busy readying their 4G networks, which will be designed to better accommodate the heavy data loads.

Read today’s New York Times article here. Read McCoy’s article in RadioWorld here. The photo is from Gizmodo.


Logitech has announced the addition of two new Internet radio listening devices to its Squeezebox line. The first, the Squeezebox Touch, is an enhanced version of the Squeezebox device which connects to an existing audio system and streams Internet radio and music files via your home network. The Touch (the top photo) adds a full-color 4.3” touchscreen, which displays album art and lets you navigate your library and the system menus by touch. For audiophiles, the Touch now supports 24-bit/96 kHz sampling. It’ll retail at $300.

The second device, as Kurt describes in his blog today here) is simply called the Squeezebox Radio (the lower photo), and it’s more of a clock radio-type device (you don’t hook it up to your audio system, it has its own amp and speaker). But, again, as Kurt describes, it features the new full-color touchscreen, and it’ll be $200.

Both products have a Facebook application which allows users to share music and photos with Facebook friends and view Flickr-hosted slideshows. Read more about the Squeezebox devices here here and here.


The group that represents Canada’s composers, lyricists, songwriters and music publishers says XM Canada failed to make its royalty payment by the July 31 deadline, and is now suing the satellite broadcaster. Bloomberg reports, “XM Canada is required to pay 4.26% of its revenue to the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)… The royalties cover the use of music by XM Canada since January 2005.” SOCAN wants XM Canada ordered to stop airing songs until it pays up. XM Canada is owned by Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., 23% of which is owned by Sirius XM Radio Inc. Read more in Bloomberg here.

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