Bookmark this page

Increased Smartphone Usage Highlights The Need For An Increased Fibre Optic Cable Roll-out

Tue 22 Feb, 2011 // Firstnumber Team
fibre optic cable

The International Telecommunication Union has called for a more comprehensive and faster roll-out of fibre optic cabling to support the growing usage of smartphone technology. On average, smartphones use five times more data capacity than feature phones, largely due to the vastly increased variety of applications and communication capabilities of the former over the older feature phones.

A boom in data usage has caught some networks off guard, with companies such as O2 and Orange experiencing coverage issues directly related to the shortage of fibre optic cabling and a provision of radio frequency spectrum for mobile signals.

The recent Mobile World Congress was in fact used as a platform to highlight the problem which is coming to the fore in mobile telecommunications, with the looming network crisis being billed as the “capacity crunch”. The ITU have forecast that smartphone proliferation will reach 2 billion by 2015, four times the current estimate of 500 million. In the last quarter smartphones outsold PCs worldwide.

Although four pilot projects were announced by the coalition government in October, they have yet to be put out to tender. The failure of the ruling bodies to issue RFTs has resulted in increasing unrest amongst opposition, with much criticism has been aimed at communications minister Ed Vaizey for a significant lack of progress.

The Labour MP for Wrexham, Ian Lucas, urged the Minister to move forward with the pilot schemes, insisting that “before we can make any progress, the pilots have to be commenced and assessed”.

Despite the growing concerns, British network providers insist that they are well equipped to deal with increasing demand. For example, Three have attributed an inability to deal with data capacity as a lack of investment by other networks rather than a lack of spectrum. Furthermore, Vodafone have bragged of their decision to “stay one step ahead of rising demand” according to one spokesman.

For Vodafone and Three then, it is not a matter of insufficient spectrum availability, but a lack of foresight and investment by network providers. However, the ITU argue strongly that the government need to act quickly and auction off extra radio spectrum to British networks.

So far, the proposed auctioning has been impeded by legal objections, but it is believed that such a sale will go ahead this year. In an earlier government statement in 2010, it was announced that an auction of 2.6GHz and 800MHz would be held by Ofcom.

Search Firstnumber
Stay up to Date
Latest From The Blog


    Students Increasingly ‘Addicted’ to Their Mobile Phones, Warns Study

    A recent study carried out by researchers from Baylor University found that female college students spent upwards of ten hours a day on their phones. The study also showed that 60% of students admitting to being addicted to the technology. "As cell phone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable ...

User Testimonials
Firstnumber lets me make cheaper calls to my good friends in Australia.
Firstnumber is very clear and it's easy to find the country you're looking for.
The prices are very, very good. Thank you firstnumber!
Firstnumber is straightforward and easy to use.
Firstnumber halves my phone bill every month.
I love firstnumber! I used the service to call friends in Thailand.
I couldn't believe that all those hours of firstnumber call time still cost under £10!