Carriers ask Facebook to dial it down

GigaOm has an interesting piece about Facebook Mobile users and the fact that they are twice as active as web-only users and account for about one-fourth of the social networking site's entire user base. As such, carriers have a request for Facebook: Please scale back the amount of data contained in its mobile web versions.

Their concerns are due to the well-publicized data crunch problem associated with the rising popularity of smartphones. The problem is especially prevalent on AT&T's network because of all of those data-hungry iPhone users. AT&T noted that wireless use has grown an average of 350 percent year-over-year for the past two years. The challenge for operators is to remain profitable without breaking the bank carrying too much data on their networks.

Henri Moissinac, director of Facebook's mobile division, said the company is obliging operators by making all photos on Facebook Mobile low resolution, for instance.

The conundrum brings up some interesting questions. How low quality can apps providers go to meet the needs of operators while balancing the quality desires of end users? What incentive will developers have to scale back on the amount of data consumed when carriers are increasingly giving up control on the apps side? I'll be very interested to know if this is a growing trend, and how much of an impact such practices might have on data traffic.--Lynnette


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