GSMA Mobile World Congress is set to kick off next week in Barcelona, Spain, at a time when the mobile industry continues to experience dramatic growth. With an App Planet, speakers and seminars on mobile money, mobile health, mobile ads and many more, the week is sure to offer something for everyone. Tweets can be tracked by searching for #MWC11 and news is available on the Mobile World Live website.
The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, uniting nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators in 219 countries, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations.
With global mobile data traffic set to increase exponentially in the coming years, there will be a lot of buzz coming out of the conference, and there are already vendor announcements coming out this week. The MWC11 conference keynotes alone should be extremely interesting - with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer (lots of Microsoft/Nokia news lately) and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo on Monday, and Google's Eric Schmidt on Tuesday. There probably won't be any 6G announcements like Justin Beiber's during the Superbowl BestBuy commercial, but there is sure to be a lot of talk about LTE and future R&D coming to market soon.
Let's take a look at the announcements and news from this week:
CNN reported Verizon Wireless is readying a new cellular calling service, tentatively called VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) that offers better sound quality than its current network and is capable of doing video chat. As a new protocol, it would route calls over the Verizon 4G network that started rolling out last December. Placing calls through the 4G network allows Verizon smartphones to enable both calling and Internet use at the same time - something that only their rivals had been able to do previously. On Wednesday, Verizon Wireless announced that they placed a live, IMS-based VoLTE call over its commercial network.
Extreme Networks (EXTR) announced a family of mobile backhaul routers that will enable mobile operators to smoothly transition cell sites to 4G, while maintaining existing 2G/3G investments. The E4G mobile backhaul family will include Cell Site Routers and Cell Site Aggregation routers that deliver advanced 4G features. "Mobile transport and wholesale operators are looking to build networks for the next decade and want future-proof Ethernet backhaul options. With existing deployments in mobile backhaul networks, Extreme Networks E4G product family has the features to address the requirements of additional mobile operators," said Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder for Infonetics Research. E4G products are expected to be available this calendar year.
Ciena (CIEN) announced the expansion of its Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery (CESD) portfolio with the addition of new switching products designed to address LTE backhaul networking requirements. The new platforms will empower service providers to match the demand for data services with speed scalability and resiliency, while reducing network complexity and lowering operating costs. The CESD portfolio additions include the ActivEdge 3930 and 3931 Serivce Delivery Switches for transitioning to high-bandwidth applications, and the ActivEdge 3916 for lower power consumption in an all GigE compact form factor.
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) announced lightRadio, a breakthrough in mobile and broadband infrastructure that streamlines and radically simplifies mobile networks. The solution was unveiled at a major press launch event in London supported by partners Freescale and HP. lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “lightRadio is a smart solution to a tough set of problems: high energy costs, the explosion of video on mobile, and connecting the unconnected.” Alcatel-Lucent also recently announced an impressive first field trail on land, with the first 100 Gigabit per second (100G) optical network connection linking the cities of Almaty and Taldykurgan with Kazakhtelecom, Kazakhstan’s leading operator.
Oracle (ORCL) is set to demonstrate their recent innovations at Mobile World Congress 2011. Focused on the communications service providers (CSPs) Oracle will demonstrate upgrades to the Oracle Communications Service Delivery product family, Exadata Database Machine and Exalogic Elastic Cloud, the Sun Netra Carrier grade servers, and a Wireless Application Community (WAC) capable NEAS offerings. "At Mobile World Congress, we look forward to showcasing Oracle’s latest innovations and discussing new trends, including how wireless operators can efficiently deliver and monetize next generation networks and applications to maintain their competitive advantage,” said Dan Ford, vice president of product marketing, Oracle Communications.
VMware's Mobile Virtualization
VMware (VMW) announced that it will showcase mobile virtualization and enterprise hybrid cloud solutions at this year's GSMA Mobile World Congress. They will be displaying a broad portfolio of handset and cloud-based software that enables service providers/network operators to generate incremental revenue from services independent of the underlying network, device and type of application. In the short term, this will enable operators to generate more revenue with existing mobile networks, while laying the foundation for unified services.
Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM) announced that its Snapdragon processors are enabling the latest and greatest multimedia experiences in today’s commercial mobile devices, including stereoscopic 3D (S3D) entertainment, 1080p 30fps HD video capture and playback, console-quality gaming and full web browsing with Adobe Flash 10. The newest member of the Snapdragon family, the APQ8060 dual-CPU processor, powers the HP TouchPad, which HP introduced Wednesday . The TouchPad's advanced graphics are powered by Qualcomm's Adreno 220 GPU. “With more than 75 Snapdragon devices already announced, 150 Snapdragon devices in development and over 100 high end mobile games optimized for our GPU, Qualcomm continues to be a leader in delivering high performance devices to market," said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management for Qualcomm.
President Obama's Wireless Plan
On Thursday, President Obama unveiled his plan to provide 4G wireless broadband coverage to 98 percent of Americans, as promised in his State of the Union speech last month. Enabling that plan is the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative where the wireless spectrum is nearly doubled, a $5 billion investment ensures rural areas are not left behind, $3 billion of the spectrum proceeds will go to research and development, a public safety wireless network is deployed, and nearly $10 billion of spectrum auction revenue will be devoted to deficit reduction. GigaOm's Stacey Higginbotham has the complete details, background, and (excellent) analysis.
Color Me Green
Finally - it wouldn't be a conference without a 'Green' theme - Mobile World Congress will also have plenty of information on Green Initiatives in the industry and in place at the conference.
Business briefings, discussions, videos and some live streaming from the event can be seen on Mobile World Live.