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from The Great Debate UK:

Apple iPad: danger or opportunity for mobile operators?


-Ken Denman is CEO of Openwave Systems. The opinions expressed are his own.-

With the launch of the iPad 3G, the industry is holding its collective breath to see the impact that the device will ultimately have on already overtaxed networks.

The iPad is expected to be a home and WiFi-centric, coffee-table device that people use for reading newspapers and browsing the occasional email. But until users get their hands on the 3G device and start to use it how they want to use it, it is all speculation. What is not speculation however, is that usage of the device is going to put more pressure on networks that are already creaking under the strain of the mobile data overload.

The majority of large global operators have already experienced network congestion challenges resulting in outages both in the U.S. and abroad. With the introduction of the Apple iPad, what are the logical immediate next steps for mobile operators to take?

It goes without saying that increasing network capacity is paramount long-term. There are various ways of doing this. Operators are upgrading their networks to 4G, and backhaul can be increased, through upgrading the base station infrastructure that links to the core network. Data can also be off-loaded to Wi-Fi.