It seems that the new iPad cannot catch a break. With news flowing around that preorders have been sold out, Signals Research reports that the new tablet may clog up 4G networks.
With the 4G networks of today being used very lightly, CEO of Signals Research, Michael Thelander says “The iPad is definitely going to be a challenge, and it will put a strain on the networks.” The new Retina display’s ability to output 1080p video will likely run up most people’s data limits and place a heavy load on the young network. At their present state, the 4G LTE networks are simply not ready for the massive bandwidth usage expected from the likely record breaking sales of the new iPad. The rise of 4G smartphones has been a gradual one, allowing for carriers such as AT&T and Verizon to prepare their networks. However, the high adoption rate for iPads will likely slow down the network, says Thelander.
AT&T’s network was torn apart by the introduction of the 3G iPhone a couple of years back. The network has since learned from that experience, yet the new 4G network is still not used to the traffic likely to be generated by the tablet.
Amit Malhotra, a vice president of Metrico Wireless, which helps test mobile device and network performance for carriers and manufacturers, says that “Most people are going to be limited by their data plans. One of the selling points of the iPad is the display; people are going to watch HD content, and that means larger files.” To add to the problem, Apple is now allowing 50 megabyte mobile apps to be installed on the App Store.
AT&T offers 3 GB of data for $30 dollars while Verizon offers 2GB for the same price. At those rates, one HD movie download will likely run up the monthly data usage for an average consumer. Verizon also offers 10GB for $80, but few people have adopted the plan. The new iPad will not be available on any other networks.
“What will likely happen is they will get very efficient at switching to Wi-Fi whenever there’s an opportunity,” says Malhotra.