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iPhone MMS update could crash network, some fear

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Update, 7:28 p.m., EST: An informal guide to the MMS outages.

Update, 1:40 p.m., EST: Many readers have successfully accessed the MMS carrier update for the iPhone. Keep us posted in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Today Apple is set to release MMS service for the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3G S – a long-awaited update that would finally bring photo messaging technology to the best-selling smart phones. But many bloggers and analysts worried that the MMS functionality might grind the AT&T network to a slow, painful halt. It's certainly not out of the question. As the New York Times reported earlier this month, the iPhone has already put maximum stress on the 3G network.

The iPhone is a data guzzler, Jenna Wortham notes:

Owners use them like minicomputers, which they are, and use them a lot. Not only do iPhone owners download applications, stream music and videos and browse the Web at higher rates than the average smartphone user, but the average iPhone owner can also use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user.... The result is dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds as AT&T’s cellular network strains to meet the demand.
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