MWC: Roundup

Another Mobile World Congress has come to an end. Thursday is usually a bit strange as everyone is alreday quite tired and just waits for the closing bell to ring. To my surprise, my Thursday was quite different.

In the morning, I met with Ajit Jaokar of Open Gardens / Futuretext to prepare for our upcoming course on LTE Services at Oxford University. Lots of great energy flowing in that session and I went out in a very positive mood. More about that soon in a separate post.

Next I went to the Next Generation Mobile Network Presentation stream to listen to some network centric presentations. Julius Robson reported on the progress of the LTE/SAE Trial Initiative, which I already reported on in one of the first MWC posts. Great presentation, Julius, it’s good to see LTE making progress.

China Mobile had a presentation on common FDD and TDD chipsets for LTE, so like me, they also think that a common chipset, i.e. mobile devices being able to do both FDD and TDD are vital for TDD to become a success.

As usual there is also the odd presentation from a North American carrier bashing on the vendors and the users alike, calling European network operators stupid for their extensive 3G network rollouts and sale of prepaid SIM cards for voice and data. I wonder if they will ever wake up!?

Good that most other operators have quite a different view on that and out of the many other presentations I especially liked Seizo Onoe’s presentation for NTT DoCoMo on Deployment and Realities of LTE. The most interesting chart for me was how DoCoMo plans to deploy LTE. It seems that they already have a deployment in which the UMTS radio module sits on the mast and is connected via a fiber cable to the digital module of the UMTS base station. For LTE, they will reuse the existing antennas and hook their digital LTE module into the fiber link that is already in place. Quite cost effective. In the Q&A the presenter was asked by a representative of T-Mobile (who also push very hard for LTE and don’t want to invest much more into the HSPA network) what he thought of HSPA+. Seizo Onoe seems to be one of the “fathers” of LTE, if one can say so, so he was of course not quite in favour of HSPA+ and said with a smile on his face that he doesn’t like it, it makes things too complicated in the mobile devices and one should go to LTE straight away. I had to smile as well, that was brought over very well. But no matter, HSPA+ will go into handsets anyway, that’s my opinion.

On into the afternoon, I had some more meetings with companies doing testing equipment and I learnt a great deal about how the optic interface between the LTE radio module and the digital part, called CPRI, will be used by maeasurement and testing companies to simulate mobile devices to stress test the base stations and the network in general.

And finally, I went to Wiley’s again to pick up a book about wireless to read on the way home and to say good bye. More about that in a separate blog post as well.

There we go, another Mobile World Congress has closed its gates. Not the most splendid one I have seen but I hugely enjoyed it again, have learnt many new things and spoke to lots of people enthusiastic about what they are doing. What else can one ask for?