Networks in other countries have similar problems, said Chetan Sharma, an independent wireless analyst. But many carriers outside of the United States balance out network use with tiered data plans. And bandwidth-intensive smartphones are often spread across multiple carriers in the same city.
Still, some, like O2 in Britain, have suffered from service failures because of a concentration of iPhone owners in dense urban areas like London.
Streaming video and live video broadcasting are still in the early stages of adoption. But most have already gained significant traction among consumers. The $10 version of the M.L.B. app that allows users to stream live games has been downloaded roughly 300,000 times since it went on sale in June, said Bob Bowman, chief executive of MLB.com.
“We didn’t even have the full season to sell the application,” Mr. Bowman said. “We think we’re going to see a substantial increase next season.” The app was demonstrated on the iPad at the event on Wednesday with Mr. Jobs.
The National Football League recently announced plans to make its RedZone channel, which offers real-time highlights, updates and live snippets of games, available to cellphone users next season.
Knocking Live, a free app that allows iPhone and iPod Touch owners to stream live video to one another, akin to a live video conference, has been downloaded more than 275,000 times, according to its developer, Pointy Heads Software. Nearly 540,000 live-streaming video sessions were initiated since the app became available in early December. On average, 120 gigabytes of data are shared each day, and the company estimates that around 90 percent of the sessions were over AT&T’s 3G network.
Ustream.tv, a Web site that allows anyone to set up a live broadcast of things as varied as a wedding ceremony and round-the-clock coverage of newborn puppies, recently introduced a free app that allows iPhone and Android-powered smartphone owners to broadcast video directly from their handsets. Within its first two weeks of availability, the company said users uploaded more than 500,000 mobile broadcasts.
“The ease and simplicity of being able to pull your phone out, hit a button and go live” is what makes the app so appealing, said Brad Hunstable, president of Ustream.
Mr. Hunstable said that the data required to broadcast or watch live video using Ustream’s app is comparable to that of watching a YouTube video. But the company is testing a high-definition version of its iPhone app, which will use more bandwidth.
“As the technology improves, so does our ability to stream in higher quality,” he said.