When trade association CTIA announced last year that it planned to break with tradition and move its annual spring trade show from late March to early May, many in the industry breathed a sigh of relief. The move brought a welcome break after the Consumer Electronics Show in January and the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona in February. At the time of the announcement, CTIA said the move was intended to help vendors at the show take advantage of back-to-school and fourth quarter retail cycles.
Was CTIA's move to May a success? I think moving the show from March to May did stop many companies from rehashing the same marketing messages and product launches that occurred at CES and MWC. However, I did not hear anyone talking about new products intended for the back-to-school or fourth quarter retail season. If that was the plan, I think it backfired.
Nevertheless, there were some interesting discussions and announcements at the show. T-Mobile made headlines by selecting Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as its vendors for its upcoming LTE network. Mastercard joined the mobile wallet wars with its PayPass wallet service and AT&T (NYSE:T) made a splash by announcing its Digital Life home monitoring service. The company brought that service to life at the show by decking out a stately home in the Garden District of New Orleans with Digital Life technology.
CTIA has not reported attendance numbers for the show. However, the association did say it was expecting more people at the 2012 confab than at last year's show, which attracted 40,000 people. The afternoon keynote session on Tuesday, also a first this year, featured the CEOs of all the top Tier 1 operators, and was very well attended. However, by Wednesday evening, it seemed as if many of the higher-level executives at companies had left town.
Panel sessions included debates on mobile payments and M2M--but there were also lots of discussion in meetings and on the show floor about the growing threat from over-the-top providers. Can operators mitigate some of the costs to the network by charging OTT players for the traffic that their customers' consume?
The Fierce editorial team has had a few days to reflect on CTIA, and we have compiled our observations into a scorecard. We've highlighted the companies and technologies we think emerged as winners and losers at last week's gathering in New Orleans. Clearly, some companies emerged stronger than ever, while others seemed to lack momentum. Check out our scorecard:
|AT&T impresses with 'Digital Life,' but CTIA keynotes frustrate|
|OTT dominates mobile content discussions|
|Small cells, HetNets lead network upgrade discussions|
|Smartphones neglected while M2M shines|