We're ready for iPhone data surge, claim Vodafone and Orange

Having seen O2 UK's network collapse under the strain of iPhone-generated data traffic, Vodafone and Orange have both made statements that their networks had been significantly improved and were confident they would not buckle with the anticipated increase.

With Orange already selling the iPhone--Vodafone will follow next week--network engineers and company execs will be watching with interest, and perhaps trepidation, how their infrastructure upgrades are performing.

Jeni Mundy, Vodafone UK's CTO, said the company had invested millions strengthening its core network to cope with the expected increase in data traffic. "Mobile users want four things: reliability, capacity, speed and quality of service," she said

The company was also the first UK mobile operator to offer 14.4Mbps transmission speeds, and plans to introduce EDGE technology later this year, said Mundy, which should treble the company's network capacity.

Vodafone has attempted to explain its network improvement to consumers by claiming it now had a "deep pan" 3G network while its competitors were "thin and crispy". Orange, however, said that it had boosted its 3G network to reach 93 per cent of the population, compared with Vodafone's 81 per cent.

Having been forced to humble itself in public following the disintegration of its network, O2 UK claims it has installed an extra 200 base stations in London to cope with the extra traffic and is talking to Nokia Siemens, which supplied its core network, to improve optimisation. The company said it was also leaning on smartphone vendors, including Apple and RIM, for early warning of data-intensive applications.

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