Bustling in Barcelona

Tony Poulos, John C. Tanner, Michael Carroll, Joseph Waring
22 Mar 2012

Anyone attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for the annual tapas and telephone fest will vouch that it was the most energetic, positive and crowded event in years, attracting a mass of new peripheral players that are finally seeing that connectedness is everything.

The Telecom Asia team can't recall a time when so many different industries were represented in keynote sessions, on the exhibition floor and in cross-industry panel discussions. On the surface it was all positive, but some of it was almost too upbeat. Maybe it was the bright sunshine, copious amounts of sangria or the hallucinatory effect of coffee-con-leche on tap, but the love-fest involving OTT players and operators seemed, at times, almost too good to be true.

Handset vendors used Mobile World Congress to raise the competitive stakes again, with Huawei, HTC and ZTE all debuting quad-core smartphones, while Nokia unveiled a phone with a 41-megapixel sensor.

Huawei introduced a line of quad-core devices, including a tablet and what it says is the world's fastest smartphone, the Huawei Ascend D Quad.

HTC meanwhile used the event to launch its HTC One series of smartphones, including the quad-core HTC One X, while ZTE announced the ZTE Era and PF112 HD smartphone and the PF100 tablet, all of which use Nvidia's Tegra 3 quad-core processor.

The GSMA stepped up its efforts toward commercialization of Rich Communications Services (RCS), with the launch of a consumer facing brand, joyn, and a new version of the specification.

Anne Bouverot, director general of GSMA, said "joyn will act as a mark of assurance to customers that they will have simple and direct access to enriched voice and messaging services wherever they are and whatever network they are using."

RCS is a cross operator initiative to harmonize rich address books and offer enhanced messaging and voice, video calling and the ability to share documents and photos simultaneous during calls.

The Small Cell Forum and platform provider Aepona launched a new developer community aimed at expanding the development of mobile apps and services for small cells.

The industry group said on the sidelines that it has developed a suite of developer resources, including a developer forum, APIs, application specifications, tutorials, code samples, a sandbox to test code, and information on use cases.

In the opening keynote session Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said governments need to stop the current "auto-pilot" regulatory mentality that has been prevailing in many parts of the world in the past and stop the regulation of pricing and roaming and let the industry reinvest the money in infrastructure.

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