Editor's Corner

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AT&T's Rinne Talks 4G, MediaFLO and next-gen technologies
Not many wireless industry executives can command an attentive audience at 7:30am, but Kris Rinne, senior vice president, architecture and planning at AT&T, however, can do just that. At yesterday's FierceWireless' executive breakfast (an invitation-only event hosted by FierceWireless and sponsored by Nokia, Deloitte and Entriq), I sat down with Rinne to talk to her about her new role with AT&T and what she thinks are some of the pressing issues facing operators today.

When it comes to the firm's HSDPA/UMTS rollout, Rinne says that the company is progressing with its deployment (165 major markets) and is pleased with the network performance. She is skeptical about what many people call "4G" technology, saying that the standard hasn't been defined and that many different technologies are being lumped into the 4G bucket. However, she did say that AT&T is currently trialing HSUPA and is planning to improve the latency on the uplink portion of its network.

AT&T's announcement last month that it had selected Qualcomm's MediaFLO network caught some in the industry by surprise (including me). Rinne explained this decision by saying that AT&T chose Qualcomm's broadcast TV network because it believes that this is the best way to get to market in 07-08. "It's the best solution in the time frame we are looking at," Rinne says. However, she added that the company will continue to evaluate other technologies.

Although AT&T has certainly received a lot of attention about the company's upcoming launch of Apple's iPhone, Rinne says that to her the iPhone is just another device that her team must ensure will work properly on the network. "It's just one of many relationships that we have from a device standpoint," Rinne says.

Rinne touted the company's IMS-based video share service that AT&T is currently testing. "It's making good progress," Rinne says. However, she did add that other IMS-based applications are in the works but that it takes time and validation to integrate all the infrastructure and deliver an end-to-end IMS-based solution.

These are just a few of the highlights from my interview with Rinne. Look for Fierce to host more invitation-only events with industry thought-leaders such as Rinne. -Sue

P.S. Now you can get FierceWireless on your mobile phone. Powered by ClearSky, you can access FierceWireless by texting the word "FIERCE" to 84444.  A text will be sent back with the correct URL. You can also simply type http://m.fiercewireless.com into your mobile browser.

And if you want to hear all the inside scoops on the news and product debuts at this week's CTIA, tune into my post-CTIA webinar on April 4. I'll be rehashing the developments from the show with Yankee Group analyst Linda Barrabee, industry analyst Andrew Seybold and Autodesk's Scott Long. Register for the webinar by clicking here.