(Reuters) - NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T) will ask Google Inc (GOOG.O) to modify its Android operating system so that smartphones using it would put less pressure on networks, a move that could spark wider protests against the leading mobile software platform, the Nikkei reported.
The leading Japanese mobile phone service provider identified an Android application, which enables free-of-charge voice communication, as a major cause behind a service disruption that occurred on Wednesday, the business daily said.
Some Android applications send out control signals once every three to five minutes even when not in use. This translates to ten times that of a conventional mobile phone, placing additional strain on the network, the newspaper said.
A sharp rise in data consumption puts more pressure on wireless operators to speed up capacity investments, as they are struggling with clogged telecom networks to keep up with growing demand for data services on the go.
DoCoMo intends to request that Google make Android transmit control signals less often, since frequent service disruptions could hurt the popularity of Android phones, the Nikkei reported.
“Other operators have complained, some publicly, about the pressure Android apps in particular are putting on their networks,” said John Jackson, analyst at British wireless consultancy CCS Insight.
The Japanese paper said that DoCoMo also hopes to team up with other mobile service providers, along with Google, to ask Android application developers to limit the frequency of control signals.
“I expect that at the very least operators worldwide will watch this dispute closely to see what remedy might be in the offing,” Jackson said.
Other operators may use the dispute as an occasion to demand similar modifications, he said.
“Either way, DoCoMo’s move comes at a challenging time for Google with the Android ecosystem failing to generate Apple-like (AAPL.O) revenue and OEM licensees coming under legal pressure from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) in particular,” he added
Reporting by Meenakshi Iyer in Bangalore and Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; Editing by Joyjeet Das, Gary Hill