Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mobile Infrastructure: Problems and Solutions at MWC 2013

The Mobile World Congress has kicked off and while much of what people will be consuming in their news are the latest phone or app innovations, one of the more unheralded fields is how these things will be delivered to consumers in the first place. Bizcommunity.com highlights some of the major upcoming issues in mobile infrastructure in a recent article:

  • The rapid move to 4G and LTE systems require massive amounts of investments, something many foreign companies, particularly in China are apt to do. According to the article China has over 200,000 operational LTE stations, a figure which Daily Wireless says puts the U.S. at a significant disadvantage in terms of LTE subscribers and infrastructure.
  • The move from the mobile generation to a fully integrated 4G/LTE cloud-based generation is imminent, even though it doesn't have a name yet. The Register notes that CEOs of 5 of the biggest telecoms - AT&T, Telefonica, Vodafone, Telecom Italia and China Mobile - got together to discuss this very issue in a MWC keynote address. They spoke at length about how national regulators should treat spectrums - that precious, semi-unlimited data stream that provides all of our internet browsing needs - and they all agreed, a 75,000% jump in data usage from 2000 to 2006 (in the U.S.) is representative of the need for greater allocation of spectrums by governments.
  • Perhaps the most exciting development, however, was Viber's CEO, Talmon Marco defending his company to the telecoms and carriers that bash services like Viber or Skype. CNET reports that many carriers are unhappy with the data usage associated with over-the-top apps like Skype or Viber: these are apps that use the existing data infrastructure of carriers to provide, essentially, free calls, messaging and other benefits. Networks, of course, are put off that the money they put into improving their infrastructure is providing workarounds for people not to pay for calls or messaging plans. And just for full disclosure, this blogger hasn't had a texting plan in over 3 years. Thanks, Google Voice!
As you can see, the Mobile World Congress represents viewpoints from every end of the industry: from the hotshot telecom CEOs who believe that innovation can only come through further investment in infrastructure, to the upstart app developers who are using the infrastructure they are granted to provide a better, cheaper experience for their users. Keep checking back for more mobile infrastructure coverage, including tomorrow's keynote about operating in the cloud!

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