MWC Preview: Mobile broadband and the 4G evolution

What would a trade show be without a little discussion of the future. And in the wireless world that means the topic of the day is 4G or the next iteration of the wireless network that means significantly more bandwidth and much faster data speeds.

With Verizon Communications executive vice president and CTO Dick Lynch taking the stage on Wednesday to talk about mobile broadband you can expect that the conversation will most likely focus on LTE. Verizon, which announced last year that it would deploy LTE, is committed to making the technology a global standard. It will be the first time a Verizon executive has participated in a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress, which has always been a platform for GSM carriers.  

Major vendors will be demonstrating LTE and talking about the technology in their booths and press conferences but that doesn't mean that HSPA is old hat. We expect to hear lots of debate about HSPA and HSPA+ and whether carriers need to migrate to LTE when they haven't fully exploited the capabilities of HSPA. Of course, key to this debate is spectrum availability. The GSMA is going to be launching an initiative to make spectrum available for mobile broadband services. Look for the specifics of that plan to be announced during the association's press conference Monday, Feb. 16.

Of course, key to mobile broadband coverage is the deployment of femtocells. The Femto Forum, which supports worldwide femtocell deployment, has created the FemtoZone in the Fira (Stand 2 1B34) where operators and vendors will be demonstrating femtocell products as well as discussing the latest research.

With mobile broadband networks becoming more pervasive many operators are looking to embedded devices for additional revenue growth. The GSMA launched an initiative to jumpstart this industry segment last November and we expect to hear more about embedded from initiative leaders such as Vodafone, Telstra, Telefonica, KTF, Huawei and others.

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