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#TBT: Virtualization, small cells at MWC ’13; Wi-Fi takes to the skies … this week in 2013

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

MWC 2013: Virtualization is coming! Virtualization is coming!

Network virtualization is on its way. If nothing else was clear from MWC 2013, it’s that networks are on the road to becoming less hardware and more software. Vendors and mobile operators are setting up for a radical change in how they conceive and build their networks. Ericsson, Tekelec and Juniper Networks all laid out their vision for where things are going at Mobile World Congress, as well as the first products to enable the move to Software-Defined Networks. Amdocs offered up a wide array of new cloud-based services, and messaging enabler Acision announced the first software-only MMS infrastructure deployment. Operators have proven that they’re behind this effort as well – Verizon and 9 other of the largest telecom carriers in the world have all teamed up on a working group for virtualization standards through ETSI. When you have that many minds in this industry collaborating to figure something out, it’s going to happen. … Read more

MWC 2013: Smartphones go waterproof, control TVs
The most stunning smartphones at Mobile World Congress were not even announced at the show; both Sony and HTC unveiled their new flagship phones before the week began in Barcelona, Spain. Once the show got underway, their handsets were joined by the latest from Nokia, ZTE, Huawei and Asus, among others. With Samsung and Apple both saving their next smartphone launches for their own press events, second-tier smartphone makers had the spotlight to themselves last week. Most of the Asian manufacturers were ready with a “first,” a “fastest” or another superlative LTE phone. HTC calls its HTC One a “new standard” because of an app that pushes content to users on a constantly changing homescreen with “ultrapixel” resolution. The phone also doubles as a TV remote, as does the other ultra high-end offering that was on display last week: Sony’s Xperia Z. The Xperia Z is claimed to be the world’s first fully waterproof phone. … Read more

Live from MWC 2013, it’s MWC 2014!
I am sure that many of you, like me, were comprehensively bombarded with vendor pre-show announcements in the week before the recent Mobile World Congress event. In addition, every analyst worth their salt put out a “what you will see in Barcelona” report well before the event. Somewhat like Christmas, which starts earlier and earlier every year, MWC is creeping backwards into the preceding weeks. It’s almost worth asking why we don’t just do all the pre-show publicity and predictions, cancel the event on the Sunday night, and go home? So how soon before someone starts talking about MWC 2014? I wanted to be the first person to write an article with an MWC 2014 title, maybe I’m already too late. But seriously, was there anything really memorable from this year’s show – 2013? The show and conference had a strong leaning toward LTE and cloud, and may become known for the place where the phrase “from dumb pipes to dumb clouds” became popularized. But there were a few items that caught the eye. … Read more

Google maps white space …
Internet powerhouse Google is once again dipping its toes into the spectrum space, announcing a partnership with the Federal Communications Commission to become certified as a “TV white spaces database administrator.” Google, which was initially tapped as one of nine firms to coordinate white spaces in early 2011, said the agreement is part of a 45-day trial with the FCC beginning today. As part of the agreement, Google is providing a mapping tool showing available spectrum in the so-called white spaces that are available across the country. “Once the database is certified and gone through additional steps with the FCC, the database will allow registered devices to check the database automatically, identifying what spectrum is available locally and using those available bands,” Google noted. “Our database also provides some basic information on spectrum and spectrum sharing to help people learn more about this approach.” The mapping tool allows for searches specific to spectrum suitable for “fixed” or “portable” applications as well as detailed searches. Google noted that it will be accepting user feedback during the trial on its way to potential certification from the FCC. … Read more

…while TPP fills it 
Great Britain’s TTP is making use of unused TV broadcast spectrum to deliver high-speed broadband service in rural areas. The so-called “white space” is license-exempt radio spectrum that exists between licensed broadcast spectrum. TTP says that more than 100 MHz of prime UHF white space radio spectrum exists in most rural locations, and that it can deliver data at speeds comparable to those of LTE by combining several TV channels and using directional antennas. TTP has partnered with Freescale (FSL) to create base stations similar in size to home routers. Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge chipset handles all the processing duties and the Austin company’s MMIC amplifiers complete the solution. TTP says it chose Freescale based on the “price and power advantage” of the company’s offering. … Read more

Airlines bring Wi-Fi on board
Airlines are expanding their Wi-Fi services and according to a new global report, are expected to become the industry that spends the most to target mobile consumers. Tata Consultancy Services predicts that by 2016, airlines will spend $37 million per company on reaching wireless users, up from about $27 million per company in 2012. Airlines, energy companies and telecommunications companies are the three industries spending the most and most often having contact with the mobile audience, with energy companies slightly outspending others in 2012. Airlines have been laying the groundwork for targeting mobile consumers by expanding their Wi-Fi networks. Recent smartphone panels conducted in five countries by Arbitron concluded that wireless device users, particularly heavy data consumers, rely on Wi-Fi for the majority of their data consumption. … Read more

Verizon is so *not* worried about net adds
Despite domestic wireless penetration at or near 100%, Verizon Wireless is confident it can continue adding new customers whether from rivals or multi-device accounts. Speaking at an investor conference this week, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo noted the company did not think the “net-add” game was over for wireless as shown by the success Verizon Wireless has seen with its Share Everything plans. “So the way we look at this is the plan is working the way we thought, maybe in a different device, but people are adding more devices, which is a net add,” Shammo explained. “So if you think about that ‘MiFi’ card or a dongle, or you think about the camera that we launched in the fourth quarter which was an LTE-enabled camera, that yet is another attachment to that Share Everything plan. So the net add piece of it hasn’t – I would say we believe that net adds will continue to fuel growth. They won’t all be smart net adds, smartphone net adds, but there is going to be additional devices that come through a net add perspective.” … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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