Déjà vu all over again as GSM jive circus hits town

Robert Clark
17 Nov 2009

The GSMA jive circus hasn’t hit town yet and already we’ve got the press release about subs numbers.

A year ago Asia-Pac had 1.7 billion subs, a billion more than 2003. What makes 2003 such a landmark year, one wonders?

Don’t expect too many answers, even from a group that grandly claims it “represents the worldwide mobile communications industry.”

But the event does have the ability to flush out normally shy CEOs: China Telecom honcho Chang Xiaobing held an audience with Bloomberg, while the GSMA is also touting China Mobile boss Wang Jianzhou, Masayoshi Son and top dogs from Bharti, Telenor and Zain.

If you haven’t been before, such events tread a well-worn path.

Vendors will work the “bit-pipe” scare story. Operators will pretend they like the iPhone and handset vendors in general. App developers will try to explain social media. Foreign vendors will spy on the Huawei booth. Experts will foresee big things in mobile TV and advertising. Everyone will feign interest in green.

Relieving the tedium will be disruptors like Skype, which has already declared that mobile VoIP is good for ARPU.

The two-day Mobile Asia Congress, or MAC as its fans call it, kicks off at the Hong Kong CEC, Wanchai, Wednesday morning.

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