I went to an interesting round table with Alcatel-Lucent last week on how mobile networks are being stressed by increased data usage. One point that might surprise some is that the company says it finds apps such as email and LBS are in fact more problematic for mobile networks than video streaming and P2P.
This is because although video and P2P send a greater volume of data over the network, their use is predictable and they actually use fewer resources because they are not constantly making requests to the network. Push email, on the other hand, is constantly making requests to the network, often with no actual result, thus using up valuable resources on the signalling and wireless side where is no need to do so.
Alcatel-Lucent's Michael Schabel comments that in his experience, volume is frequently not the cause of wireless network problems. The most problems are caused by applications or devices that make very inefficient use of the network resources. So the important thing for operators is to discover more about what is actually running over their networks, when and where, and adapt their networks accordingly.