Taking all current sales figures and the Google versus Apple arms-race out of the equation, there is still no getting away from the fact that the number of iPhones currently up and running in the hands of consumers is truly enormous. In fact, such is the saturation of the data-hungry iPhone that analysts from Ericsson have suggested that Apple’s iPhones and iOS devices are swallowing up more than their fair share of 3G networks worldwide.
According to recent estimates, up to 50% of all HSPA network traffic today originates from Apple’s iPhones. Such numbers are likely to send shivers down the spines of all carriers still looking to get their 4G LTE networks off the ground, given the way in which a full migration is likely to prove incredibly difficult while 3G iPhones continue to prove the world’s favorite.
By comparison, Google’s Android OS is thought to account for around 30% of all global 3G traffic, though is of course spread between thousands of different devices from hundreds of manufacturers.
The problem is, such favor toward the 3G iPhone could essentially prove disastrous for networks and carriers in the US, as large and ongoing investment is needed in order to keep up with demand. This in turn allows less time, efforts and cash to be focused on 4G LTE development and roll-outs, stunting the growth of an essentially progression.
Of course, Apple has already made its first move toward 4G LTE connectivity with the release of the new iPad earlier this year. What’s more, the iPhone 5 release date is also expected to mark the company’s first 4G LTE Smartphone venture later this year.
As such, it remains to be seen exactly how the migration toward a full 4G LTE standard is impacted by the release of the iPhone 5 later this year, though with more affordable iPhone 4S and 3GS models on the cards following the iPhone 5’s launch, 3G data demand is unlikely to plummet in an instant.