Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 4, 2009
BlackBerry devices enjoy at least one considerable advantage over rivals including the Apple iPhone: They use up much less wireless network capacity to complete the same tasks. That could prove to be an increasingly important advantage in the coming months.
A BlackBerry user can send 11 times the number of e-mails using up 50 Megabytes of network capacity than an iPhone user can, according to a recent report from Conaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek. A BlackBerry user can view 5,000 Web pages using the same amount of bandwidth as an iPhone would need to view 3,000 pages, according to the report. It’s all the result of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion’s global network of servers that efficiently pass the data to and from the device. Such a network would cost $50 billion to replicate, Misek figures.
Here’s why this is a big deal: As more wireless networks and bandwidth-thirsty smartphones come online, wireless carriers’ networks will be increasingly straining at the seams. Misek projects that network traffic is going to start exceeding capacity starting in 2010. To deal with this barrage of traffic, he expects carriers to start charging per Megabyte of data used. That means that iPhone users may have to pay 11 times more for the same number of e-mails as BlackBerry users. Those higher fees could make the iPhone much less appealing to consumers.
One solution: Apple and other smartphone makers may need to contract with RIM for the use of its back-end servers network, Misek says. Or, perhaps, its back-end infrastructure would prove valuable enough for some rival to buy RIM altogether.