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ACG Research
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Chris on the Spot: Mobile World Congress Day 1

Mobile World Congress is reporting more than 50,000 attendees, and fortunately the metro and bus drivers reached an agreement and are not striking – helping both the traffic and the mood of the attendees immeasurably.

Speaking of traffic, this is the second show in a row, after CES, where automobiles again take the stage. Walking around the Fira (conference center) one can alternatively browse through a new connected Ford or if something sportier is what you are after, a connected BMW. Love to take a test drive in one of THOSE.

Nokia got the show off to a good start with CEO Stephan Elop highlighting the speed of Nokia’s innovation this past year: four new Lumia devices as well as a range of other devices for the emerging markets. Elop cited the increased clock speed at which Nokia is operating today – a nod to what many perceive is Nokia falling behind in the smartphone wars to Samsung, Motorola and Apple, among others.

However, Nokia has said it will be a leader in bringing location to the market as a value-added service, a point that was underscored by the announcement of a partnership with Groupon.

Groupon benefits from knowing where its members are exactly rather than in a general geographic area, allowing for the more specific targeting of its offers and allowing for immediate offers to pop up to nearby users.

NSN’s Rajeev Suri announced his prediction that by 2020 users will be consuming 1Gb of data per day. That is for each user the equivalent of an hour of HD video every day. I understand how much traffic video generates, but until video content becomes more searchable or better targeted to information delivery I’m not sure I buy it. I still find it much easier to browse Flipboard or CNN for headlines and then click through to get more detail. And not every phone call I make will be a video call either. I could be wrong however.

NSN also expects that applications will become more intelligent, self learning and connecting when and how the app needs to connect. This I can see, along with an intelligent voice interface that figures out what apps IT needs to access to find me the best deal on a pair of shoes or the closest theater/restaurant pairing for a movie I want to see. I already do a lot of voice interface with my phones, relieving me of typing and navigation, but I would like to see it more intuitive to my preferences.

However, ALU points out the downside of intelligent apps or at least the current crop of intelligent applications such as Suri: IOS5 has 50 percent more signaling load than IOS4 has, and Ericsson highlights that signaling capacity not throughput is one of the top concerns of the operators. In fact, an unexpectedly high signaling load is said to be the cause of most of Verizon’s LTE network issues.

This leads us to service provider WiFi, probably the one topic at which nearly all of the mobile operators are looking and certainly a hot topic for the infrastructure vendors too. But that is a topic for tomorrow. Until then!

Stay tuned for other topics/themes emerging from the show, which center on connected things, 4G (LTE and HSPA+), "easy and simple" and monetizing the Internet.

Chris Nicoll

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