Barcelona Beckons Mobile World Congress

2012-02-24 06:53

The Road to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC12)

I am about to board the plane for Barcelona, Spain and I cannot wait. This will be my third consecutive trip to the Mobile World Congress and I look forward to catching up on all the latest developments. Last year over 60,000 Telecoms Execs from across the globe descended on Barcelona and in 2012, we are expecting even more!

A quick side trip – Barcelona is an ancient city with a long and proud history, juxtaposed with 21st century living with its status as a world class city - a fitting place then, to host an event of this nature.

Back to MWC - At the same time as the Congress, there are the MWC Awards and I have the privilege of judging these Awards for the second year in succession. This year I am judging the category “Best Infrastructure Technology” (although the biggest fanfare awards are generally the Best App and Best Mobile Phone categories).

In my opinion though, the Infrastructure award is probably the most important award. The infrastructure of mobile networks around the world, are the cornerstone of what we as the user perceive in the lack of broadband connections and even dropped calls on our mobile networks - the things that get our blood boiling.

In this category we have seen entries from the likes of Alcatel-Lucent, Ericson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Ixia to name a few. The results of these awards will be available from Tuesday afternoon so expect a post from me late Tuesday night or early on Wednesday with the winners.

This year at MWC12 we can expect a slew of Mobile Money related announcements, and Near Field Communications (NFC) deployments. The big news of 2011 from an African perspective in the Mobile Money space was the purchase of Fundamo (a South African founded firm) by Visa, both of whom will be at MWC12.

On the Infrastructure side, we are sure to see a number of developments in the LTE space, with many of these companies having produced actual working LTE networks last year. So what they have in store for us this year is anyone’s guess, however personally I can’t wait for commercial deployments in Africa.

Also expect a number of announcements around the offloading of 3G data onto Wi-Fi networks. Personally this just makes sense for operators to embrace the technology to remove some of the strain from 3G networks around the world, which are overloaded with the dearth of smartphones operating on these networks. If this data can be offloaded onto 3G networks it will allow for data hungry devices and services like the iPhone 4s’s Siri, which according to studies requires 4 times the data usage as the iPhone 3G.

From a consumer perspective, devices are key for the device manufactures, however as always with MWC, we are not expecting any major announcements, as most of the critical announcements took place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January 2012. And with Samsung flat-out saying the Galaxy S3 will not be on display, it leaves some of the smaller manufactures the opportunity to steal some of the device announcement limelight.

Overall though, the show should certainly give us a lot to speak about in the coming months and hopefully many of the current problems we face in developing economies will have solutions by the time we leave. At least, that is the hope - whether or not that will be a reality, remains to be seen.

Now time to get there. My next piece will be on the ground but if you have any questions or want me to find out some specific details, tweet me and I should be able to respond during the course of the week.

Adios

Bradley

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