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Three joins the ranks of data capping phone operators

Simon Quicke

The days of unlimited data on smart phones are coming to an end just as Apple launches it's latest incarnation of the iPhone.

As customers queue to get their hands on the iPhone 4 they will be signing contracts that set caps on the amount of data they can download.

With O2, Orange and Vodafone already setting limits Three has joined them today with a 1GB monthly cap.

The move has been seen as a response to the increasing pressure that smartphones are placing on the providers networks but will make life more expensive for heavy data users.

There had been some expectations that some providers, Three among them, might avoid capping data as a way of gaining sales but the consequences of attracting those users that churn through data could be significant on network capacity.

Apple launched its latest iPhone this morning with queues reported at its Regent Street store and warnings from some outlets providing stock only to pre-ordering customers.

" Whilst data capping can in theory provide an additional revenue stream, operators are resorting to this strategy because of the increasing pressure smartphones are placing on networks.
Data capping doesn't solve the problem and by restricting downloads, operators run the risk of alienating customers that want to download data freely," said Harald Braun, CEO of Aviat Networks.

"The need for greater data capacity will not go away and carriers and operators need to look at a long-term solution, which is essentially investment into the backhaul," he added.


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