Posts tagged ‘MWC’

Mobile World Congress 2014 looms large

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is already one of the biggest shows on the tech calendar, and thanks to keynotes from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, in some people’s eyes it’s becoming even more important from the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. As Eric Schmidt (who keynoted at MWC two years ago), put it, “Mobile has already won.”

For the consumer tech press, MWC is all about the latest and shiniest handsets. The big launch is expected to be Samsung’s Galaxy S5, though the likes of Nokia and HTC and LG are also going to want to make their presence felt. That said, we’ve also heard from new players such as Kazaam. Founded by former ex-HTC execs, these smaller players could make the handset market a bit more interesting.

mobile world congress floor picFrom the LTE World Series perspective, we’ll be concentrating on the tech that makes it all happen – the latest network infrastructure technology– the stuff that gets discussed and dissected in our on-going LTE World Series of events round the world, from TD-LTE in Singapore, to the LTE World Summit in Europe and LTE Africa in, you guessed it, Africa.

We’ll be at the show next week to try and get a sense of what the industry is getting up to with regards to the likes of LTE Advanced, and making networks smarter using technologies such as Het-Nets, small cells, and technologies such as SON and NFV. We also want to find out a bit more about how it’s all going to be supported with more efficient backhaul technologies. After all, we’re moving into a world of ubiquitous smartphones, smart watches and connected cars your new-fangled internet-connected toaster, or smart watch, won’t be that clever if the network behind it isn’t up to scratch.

Be sure to check back next week for our updates and if you’re attending the show, brace yourself – and especially your feet, it’s going to be mega.

MWC: FDD vs TDD. Who wins? There’s only one way to find out. Fight!

MWC 2012. A bit crazy.

So that was the week that was. I managed to make it to Mobile World Congress this week for the first time, and though I was only able to do so for a little over one day it was a pretty interesting experience.

If you’ve ever been to any kind of large industry trade show you’ll know that they can be pretty intense affairs. MWC though has to be on another level – it’s nuts and probably only outdone by CES – but then that’s in Las Vegas so there you go.

Everyone who is everyone is there at MWC, so much so that to really make a statement, you have to not be there – but be big enough for people to notice. So that’s Apple then.

In terms of LTE MWC afforded me the opportunity to actually pick up and hold my first LTE enabled phone: and would you believe it, they feel much the same as 3G phones. That said the phone in question was the Samsung Galaxy Note, which is about the size of a small Galaxy, so well named in that regard.

LTE wise one of the most interesting things I heard was a comparison between the performance of FDD LTE and TD-LTE (Frequency Division Duplex vs Time-Divison). This was conducted in the field by 3 Sweden, which has just launched its LTE service. Jorgen Askeroth, CTO of 3 Sweden said that as a company they had no religious bias towards one technology or another, it was more a case of spectrum availability. It just wanted to offer the best service to its customers – which is refreshing to hear. But some operators might be ‘afraid’ of bidding for the more affordable and more widely available TDD spectrum, when it fact it would be a great choice, as Sweden UK’s testing proves.

Askeroth said that every site had both LTE and TD and has separate antennas for LTE on order to maintain a good 3G experience for its customers. In its comparison tests, FDD was better in 28 locations but TDD was better in 20 locations. Latency in particular was comparable. When you take into account the fact that TD-LTE spectrum used was 20MHz compared to 40MHz for the FDD, Askeroth said that there was no doubt that, as often assumed but not often proven, TDD offers much greater spectrum efficiency than FDD. Askeroth was happy to state that with an equal amount of spectrum to throw at it, TDD would be “materially better”.

In the same session, the rather quirky chief strategist of Dutch operator KPN, Erik Hooving stepped up to say that LTE was being marketed entirely wrong – starting with the name as it was entirely meaningless to most consumers. However, his argument would be negated by the fact that in reality LTE will simply be sold at ‘4G’, which is a clear enough message for most. Hooving admitted that in Holland, KPN’s HSPA network would be sufficient to deliver what its customers actually needed in terms of bandwidth, but said that it was important to get on the LTE bus now, simply to be ready. His key message to operators – don’t build for coverage – build for capacity. There’s little point having 99 per cent coverage is 99 per cent of the time no one can adequately use the network.

It’s a good point, and one I hope to hear more of at the LTE World Summit in May.

LTE shaping up to be the biggest buzzword of Mobile World Congress 2012

Are you happy with your mobile phone? Want to keep it for the next two years? You’re probably in the wrong industry then. The chances are that if you’re reading this you’ll be at the Mobile World Congress next week, along with the great and the good of the mobile industry, or at least, the mobile industry, and eagerly awaiting to see what everyone, bar Apple of course, will be doing over the next few months.

MWC gives us the themes and notes that we can expect in mobile handsets in Europe for the next 12 months, so it will be interesting to see what’s on offer from an LTE perspective. In fact, my hunch is that that LTE could be the dominant buzzword coming out of the show by the end.

From a UK perspective, it all seems a little bit more enticing following the news the Everything Everywhere has said it’s putting its ducks in a row to get an LTE network operating by the end of 2012 using refarmed 1800MHz spectrum. With the auction of 2.6MHZ/800MHz spectrum not happening until Q4 2012, the chances of any LTE action in the UK happening until late 2013 seeming unlikely, so this is a boost.

There have been some LTE networks in Europe but as far as LTE handsets go, the US has had all the love so far. By the time you read this the Samsung Galaxy II LTE should be available for the lucky few on TeliaSonera’s LTE network in Sweden, while Vodafone Germany will be able to get their mitts on the HTC Velocity 4G. Speaking of HTC, it will be seeing MWC as a crucial event in which to re-establish itself as being relevant, having been eclipsed as the leader by Samsung.

Indeed, LG has been resurgent and we already know that Chinese manufacturer ZTE will be realised two new handsets, the PF200 and the N910, naturally both running Android. LG is rumoured to launch the LTE flavoured Optimus Vu and Optimus LTE

We’ll be keen to see what other manufacturers will be doing LTE wise. We’ll be keeping a particular eye on the announcements from Nokia to see how its relationship with Microsoft is bearing fruit. Nokia recently opened an LTE lab in California and it also has facilities in Finland and France, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something LTE related hardware for Europe appearing.

Then there’s the new look Sony Mobile, freshly divested of its Ericsson partner. That said, it might still be launching Sony Ericsson branded handsets that were put together before the divorce, but I can’t image that they will be LTE ready.

My hunch is that there will be a good few LTE handsets – but not a flood, and that next year every new handset worth its salt will be LTE capable.

Chipset wise, Nvidia has just announced a partnership with GCT Semiconductor and Renesas Mobile to build LTE enabled chipsets around is quad-core Tegra 3 chip. Tegra 3 appears in many devices from the likes of LTE so it’s a clear indicator of the way the market is moving.

Nvidia is trying to increase its market share in the mobile chip space ahead of the likes of Qualcomm as it Intel. It will be interesting to see if the latter can actually come up with a compelling smartphone play that handset manufacturers will want to adopt. As in powerful, natch, but also able to last more than 10 minutes in the battery stakes. (Breath holding not recommended).

Finally, along with LTE, NFC is another TLA that we should see bandied about with relish and abandon at MWC. Just BTW, FYI.

Are you going to MWC? What are you looking forward to the most? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: