CTIA, North America's answer to Mobile World Congress, is just around the corner with a brand new name--Super Mobility Week. The new "super" moniker is to let all of us who thought the old CTIA trade show was on its way out that it is now back and stronger and bigger than ever. Having the CTIA trade show at the same time as 4G World and Competitive Carriers Association annual trade show certainly speaks to bigger; stronger, however, remains to be seen.
Stronger or not, CTIA should remain a time-worthy event. It provides a chance to meet with some vendors who I haven't talked to since Mobile World Congress or couldn't work into my schedule at that time. The North America bent of the show and this region's current place in LTE development can provide a chance to see some of the latest 4G developments. So with that in mind, the following are my serious (and not so serious) predictions for Super Mobility week.
- Small cell announcements: It is a given there will be small cell announcements at the upcoming CTIA. Small cell announcements are a natural for this type of event, especially here in the US where we expect domestic mobile operators will be ramping their deployments in 2015. This would be a good time for Alcatel-Lucent to provide more details on its small cell development work with Qualcomm. Ericsson announced seven new customer trials at the 2014 Mobile World Congress for its Dot System, after launching last year with both AT&T and Verizon Wireless so an update on that front is natural to expect. Nokia hasn't been shy about using small cells to gain favor with U.S. operators where it isn't the macro base station supplier. CTIA is the perfect place for the Nokia to announce some North America specific small cell solution to advance this ambition. The same goes for Samsung as well. Verizon Wireless selected the Samsung as a small cell LTE vendor at this year's Mobile World Congress. Samsung increased its 3G credibility with its role in Vodafone's Project Spring. To finish off this successful run Samsung just now needs to announce a new multi-standard small cell and US win.
- 5G discussion: Without a doubt there will be some 5G "concept" discussions. It seems with every mobility show this year the 5G talk becomes more prominent. I don't think anything concrete will be announced regarding 5G at CTIA but there will be plenty of thought leadership discussions. And, don't be surprised if I say the exact same thing when I write my Mobile World Congress 2015 prediction column.
- Featured LTE Broadcast devices or services: There is little debate around video as a key LTE application, which helps to explain the ever-growing interest in LTE Broadcast. Verizon Wireless ran an LTE Broadcast trial at this year's Super Bowl and Indy 500. This technology won't be ignored at CTIA as I expect some sort of service or device announcement during the show.
- T-Mobile CEO John Legere will say something provocative: I don't see where T-Mobile's CEO John Legere is scheduled to speak at CTIA, but his competitors have stage time. Their presence should guarantee he will say something provocative during the week to make sure we continue to pay attention to "uncarrier". Heck even if it wasn't Super Mobility week and his competitors made no significant announcements, he still would say something provocative so the prediction is a little bit of a cheat.
- iPhone 6 anticipation: Apple has scheduled its fall product announcement event for September 9th. No doubt this event will include the iPhone 6. This will lead to plenty of iPhone 6 discussions at CTIA, some of which will center around what it means that the biggest mobility story of the week didn't take place in Las Vegas. Honestly at this point I say it doesn't mean much. Everybody knows Apple doesn't announce new products at these types of events, and that includes Mobile World Congress.
- Too many "blinded me with science" hashtags: Yes I know he will be there playing at the keynotes. Yes I know that was his biggest song. But, people resist the easy tweet. You can do it.
- Sports betting depletes college funds: Seriously… an event in Las Vegas at the start of football season? This is just plain evil. How will I explain to my children what happened to their college fund? Come on, that "Jason Garrett first NFL coach to be fired this season" prop bet is too good to pass up.
Daryl Schoolar is Principal Analyst of Wireless Infrastructure for Ovum. Daryl's research includes not only what infrastructure vendors are developing in those areas, but how mobile operators are deploying and using those wireless networking solutions. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him at @DHSchoolar.