Another day, another announcement by an operator that it is trialling LTE Advanced services. BASE Belgium is the latest company to reveal that it is testing what is in fact "true" 4G, if you stick precisely to 3G and LTE guidelines. However, the focus is still too much on the advancements in speed, even though for many consumers figures such as "250 Mbps" are virtually meaningless.
The GSMA reported that more than 85,000 visitors from 201 countries attended the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which it said set another new record. In addition to the more than 80,000 attendees at MWC at Fira Gran Via, more than 5,000 people participated in a range of partner programmes at Fira Montjuïc.
The FierceWireless team will be exploring both LTE Advanced and Internet of Things in depth during our luncheon panel sessions that will be held directly across the street from the Fira Gran Via at the Fira Congress Hotel.
In the run-up to every Mobile World Congress, media and analysts spend much time speculating on what is likely to feature at the event, indicating the importance of these four days as a bellwether for the mobile industry. Already there are signs that this is shaping up to be an eventful show--certainly if Huawei's recent video teaser is anything to go by.
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao discussed a multitude of topics during his recent visit to New York, ranging from how much the operator could spend on future acquisitions (up to $40 billion) to whether US operators would be able to do a better job in Europe (unlikely, he said). According to reports, Colao also revealed that Vodafone had turned down a request from Facebook to "zero rate" its content by excluding it from counting towards a subscriber's mobile data plan in certain emerging markets.
There has been an acceleration in moves by operators to address the thorny problem of voice and data roaming charges throughout the European Union, although there currently seems little likelihood that such efforts will stop the European Commission's Neelie Kroes from implementing her plans to abolish roaming charges completely.
If I had to use three words to describe the week in telecoms so far, they would be "Vodafone, Vodafone, and, er, Vodafone". To say the UK-based operator has been in the news a lot in the past few days would be something of an understatement--and it's only Wednesday.
This is a somewhat strange time of year for the mobile sector, caught between an increasingly mobile technology-focused CES in January and Mobile World Congress in February. Choosing when to launch major services and innovations requires some fine tuning from operators and vendors alike, if they want to make the most of the opportunities these events offer. For European operators, 2014 will be a critical time as they seek to balance increased spending on LTE networks with more cautious spending on services by users.
FierceWirelessEurope and our sister title TelecomsEMEA are merging into a single publication, meaning that FW:E is extending its remit to the Middle East and Africa markets and also increasing its frequency to three days a week. Additionally, Michael Carroll is joining the FierceWireless:Europe team; Many of you will know Michael from his work on TelecomsEMEA.