Survey: North American mobile networks at 80 pct capacity

Credit Suisse HQ (New York)

North American mobile operators have for years been complaining about the impacts heavy data users and network congestion, and have repeatedly revised their service plans and data offerings to encourage mobile users to snarf less data over 3G and 4G connections—to the point where only one carrier (Sprint) offers unlimited data service. It turns out carriers might have something to complain about: a new survey from investment bank Credit Suisse finds that mobile networks in North America are running at about 80 percent capacity, with more than a third of base stations facing significant capacity constraints. The figures are far above the global average of 65 percent utilization on mobile networks worldwide—and significantly higher than the 72 percent utilization North American networks were seeing just two years ago.

The Credit-Suisse report is compiled as an indicator of future sales from mobile telecom gear makers like Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Siemens Networks, and Ericsson. And, at least in the near-term, the future is looking bright for those companies, as mobile operators struggle to expand their capacity to retain customers and embrace new mobile technologies.

North America isn’t the only region seeing significant growth: two years ago, Asia’s mobile networks were running at an average of 54 percent utilization, and that’s jumped to 62 percent in 2011. The report also forecasts that Latin America’s mobile network utilization will ready 85 percent within a year.

However, Western Europe—one of the world’s most mobile-saturated regions—is actually seeing network conditions become less constrained, dropping from 66 percent capacity to 56 percent capacity in the last two years.

The report notes that mobile data services are one of the primary driving factors in mobile network usage, but they’re also responsible for most of the per-subscriber revenue growth mobile operators have been seeing. Credit-Suisse forecasts that worldwide data revenue collected by mobile operators will increase by 11.7 percent in 2011, while voice and SMS revenue will decline by 4.4 and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Gaming

Blizzard says Overwatch endorsement system helped slash toxicity by 40 percent

Blizzard said that toxicity in Overwatch is down 40 percent, partly thanks to the addition of the endorsement system. The feature allows players to reward teammates and opponents who show good behavior during a match.
Deals

Time to do taxes? Save up to 50 percent on H&R Block tax software this weekend

Tax season is stressful, and with new tax laws in effect this year, it's not a bad idea to get some help. H&R Block has you covered: For two days only, you can save 50 percent on its great software so you can file your taxes online and save…
Home Theater

March Madness deal alert: Get a 43-inch LG 4K HDR TV for just $270

March is a great time to find a deal on a new TV, and this one is worth every penny: Walmart is selling LG's 43-inch 43UK6300PUE, a very capable 4K HDR Smart TV, for almost 50 percent off the regular price, at $270.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Mobile

HMD Global admits Nokia 7 Plus handsets sent user data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here's our review of Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet.
Mobile

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Mobile

Wring the most out of iOS with the best commands for Siri

You may not know all the things you can say to Siri -- after all, Apple never released an official list of commands for its virtual assistant. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of the best Siri commands to help you out.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.
Mobile

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.
Wearables

Alpina makes its AlpinerX smartwatch even more attractive with new colors

Alpina has introduced four new colors to its AlpinerX smartwatch range, breaking the usually sporty watch out into a more everyday casual design, and given the tech a slight makeover too.
Mobile

New gold finish makes Frederique Constant’s hybrid smartwatch flashier than ever

Frederique Constant has found considerable success with its luxury hybrid smartwatch, the Hybrid Manufacture, and has launched several new color schemes to help bring it even more attention.
Wearables

Tag Heuer’s Golf Edition smartwatch is a lot more than just a flash of new color

Tag Heuer's Golf Edition Connected Modular 45 smartwatch has a lot more going for it than just a flashy new color scheme. From the titanium body and black PVD coating to the new Golf app, this is a true special edition.