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The launch of Apple's new iPhone 4S could bring the UK's mobile broadband networks to saturation point, it has been claimed.

Speaking to, George Wareing, Head of Mobile & Broadcast at Virgin Media Business, said the new handsets are "certain to be bandwidth heavy".

He explained that workforces up and down the country now expect to be equipped with the latest smartphone, and Britain has never been so data hungry as a result.

"This means that the UK's mobile backhaul networks are creaking under the strain of demand for data, and the [new] iPhone will push them to the limit," Mr Wareing said.

This could potentially create difficulties for dongle users, whose USB modems also rely on 3G mobile broadband networks for their internet connection.

Concerns over data demand reinforce the need for the government and Ofcom to press ahead with the UK's 4G auction, which is set to take place at some point in 2012.

Three recently warned that some of its industry rivals may seek to delay the auction, owing to the fact they still have spare 3G capacity.

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