When it came together for this year’s Mobile World Congress, the industry’s theme seemed to be set: economic crisis, credit crunch, downturn, recession.
However, after four days in Barcelona, other topics emerged. The most dominant, certainly from the infrastructure side, was probably LTE, and how soon it will be upon us.
Those of us involved in the industry, are always looking out for the next advance. Everyone coos over the latest handsets and thrills to demonstrations of high definition video streaming over mobile networks. But – from Nokia Siemens Networks at least – this push for the “next generation” was firmly grounded in the changes that would need to occur in the industry to build a sustainable future.
A good summary of our thoughts about the market can be read in this interview Mikka Vehvilainen, our chief operating officer gave to Marketwatch.
Word from the organisers of the 2009 MWC, the GSMA, suggests that although attendance in Barcelona was marginally down on last year (some sources suggest 47,000 attendees against 49,000 in 2008) the quality of attendees was up.
More C-level executives prioritizing meeting their counterparts at customers and partners, as opposed to a “massed mobile middle-management party”. In addition, 1300 separate companies took out booth space (or had at least some sort of presence) and 2100 journalists showed up (our online access was pretty much permanently occupied).
What is yet to be seen is whether the industry will heed calls to work together better and build a more sustainable future in terms of long term investment and innovation, and minimizing the environmental impact of its activities.
Will we be able to look back in a few years and answer whether the 2009 Mobile World Congress marked a time when the industry got smarter and emerged from a youthful impatience for growth at any cost, and fixed on a goal of smart growth that promises sustainability?