CTIA 2013 Scorecard: A last gasp before 2014's big changes
CTIA Wireless 2013 this year was, by virtually all accounts, a relatively quiet show. Big headlines were few and far between, and even the appearance of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Ashton Kutcher did little to raise the overall outline of the event. Check out our analysis of the big news and main themes from the show:
--The second coming of the MVNO market
--As bigger handset makers shun CTIA, smaller players take the spotlight
--Viva Móvil, Walmart set sights on wireless retail
--Wireless infrastructure takes a back seat, but small cell buzz continues
For the past week or so, I've been waiting to see a good write-up of CTIA Wireless 2013; it's always good to compare notes, if only to see what you've missed. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many. I suspect it's a function of what people think was an event where not much took place.
CTIA Wireless 2013 this year was, by virtually all accounts, a relatively quiet show. Big headlines were few and far between, and even the appearance of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Ashton Kutcher did little to raise the overall outline of the event.
LAS VEGAS--Microsoft will place more of a marketing focus on the signature features of the devices its partners produce as well as on the connections between the mobile platform and Windows 8 and Microsoft's Xbox gaming console, according to a Windows Phone executive.
LAS VEGAS--A top Ting executive said that around 40-50 percent of the MVNO's new customers are coming through its newly launched bring-your-own-device program. And separately, the CEO of Ting's parent company, Tucows, announced that Ting would "cross over the breakeven threshold" in the fourth quarter of this year.
LAS VEGAS--Walmart's top mobile executive said that the Straight Talk service offered by América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, is the fastest growing part of its sprawling mobile business.
LAS VEGAS--MVNO FreedomPop plans to release a smartphone case that can connect to Sprint Nextel's EV-DO and LTE networks sometime this year. The case will be tied to a user's smartphone via Wi-Fi, and will provide the user with access to FreedomPop services including the company's 500 MB of free data per month and its forthcoming VoIP calling service.
Absent from the CTIA Wireless 2013 conference here this week were the big, company-sponsored product unveilings or parties (or combination thereof) that used to dominate this show. In fact, many big-name companies, including Samsung Electronics, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), HTC, LG Electronics, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and others did not send their mobile executives to the show.
LAS VEGAS--Walmart is looking to mobile technology to redefine the shopping experience for its retail customers. Speaking at the CTIA Wireless 2013 conference today, Gibu Thomas, global head of mobile at Walmart, said that the company's goal is to create mobile tools that are "indispensable for the customer when shopping in our stores."
Verizon Wireless is teaming with Jennifer Lopez to sell wireless phones and services to the Latino market under Lopez's newly launched brand, Viva Móvil. The goal of the venture is provide a better retail experience for the growing Latino market, which was estimated to have had $1.2 trillion in purchasing power in 2012.
Just a few years ago, Wi-Fi offloading was all the buzz as operators searched for a quick solution to ease their network congestion. But today the discussion around Wi-Fi has shifted from offload to integration, as Tier 1 operators such as AT&T strive for more control of the user experience and better quality of service.