Could 2012 Break AT&T's Network?

The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series, in which senior technology analyst Eric Bleeker and Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Phillips discuss topics across the investing world.

Cisco recently released the latest version of its visual networking index, a document that not only details past data trends but forecasts the future trajectory of mobile data traffic. The headline figure for investors is that mobile data grew 2.3-fold last year. Another area being keyed in on from Cisco's study is that LTE users consumed 28 times as much data as non-4G users. Despite only 0.2% of mobile connections coming from 4G, those connections consumed 6% of all mobile data traffic. Eric and Jeremy caution not to look too far into that figure, since early adopters consume at outsize rates, so extrapolating 4G data use forward wouldn't be appropriate. Still, a potential watershed event for 4G looms this year as Apple is reported to be readying a 4G-capable iPad, and possibly a 4G iPhone to follow. If the iPhone creates a massive shift to 4G usage and users continue consuming data at current growth rates, the "spectrum crunch" often spoken about could become reality as newly built 4G networks are immediately put to the test.

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At the time thisarticle was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of Cisco Systems. Jeremy Phillips has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter services recommendApple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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