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3G mobile broadband networks are placed under more strain by emails than either peer-2-peer (P2P) downloading or video streaming, new research reveals.

According to Bell Laboratories, which is a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent, P2P and web surfing do account for a significant amount of mobile broadband network traffic, but email is the most bandwidth-hungry application.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia, Mike Schabel - Manager of Alcatel-Lucent Ventures' Aware project - explained that there is a "false belief" that high-volume users also take up most of the available wireless broadband bandwidth.

Much to the contrary, however, he explained: "Every wireless application uses resources with different efficiencies.

"Operators can't just focus on how much traffic is sent - they have to consider how the traffic is sent. We need to be much smarter about how we deliver the bits and bytes and handle the transactions."

He suggested the reason that email places such a strain on 3G networks is because internet-enabled devices such as laptops are constantly connecting to exchange servers to check for messages, even though these emails account for just four per cent of all data sent.

Last week, Coda Research Consultancy published a report indicating that 418 million global laptop users will subscribe to mobile broadband packages by 2017.

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