U.S. mobile show reboots with international scope and brains. Mostly

13 September 2017 by Steve Blum
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Rebranding and a return to San Francisco has reversed CTIA’s slide into trade show oblivion. Now known as the Mobile World Congress Americas and run by GSMA, the outfit that puts on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, the show is drawing a more international crowd and a better class of speakers. Or at least speakers that are living up to MWC’s standards.

The first keynote yesterday featured Carlos Slim Domit, the chairman of America Movil, which is the largest mobile telecoms company in Latin America, and the fourth largest in the world.… More

Smart policy has to lead smart technology to make a smart city

11 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Nobody knows what a smart city is. Or rather, everybody defines smart city differently, depending on individual goals: it’s a means to an end.

For equipment makers and service providers, a city is smart if it buys their stuff. To a network operator, a smart city is one that hangs that stuff, whatever it might be, on its network. On the private sector side, the smart city vision is marketing driven and has a distinctly vertical focus – there was little or no interest in horizontal integration on display at the smart city panel sessions I sat in on at the CTIA show in Las Vegas last week.… More

Expect more federal preemption of local wireless site reviews

8 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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There’s no partisan bickering in Washington over locating cell sites. The great divide is between federal and local governments. After making the obligatory nods toward local communities, top aides to all five FCC commissioners agreed that clearing the path for the millions of new cell sites that 5G networks will require is a top priority. They told the audience at the CTIA’s trade show in Las Vegas yesterday that in order to make 5G work, the cost of constructing cell sites, particularly the time and money required to get permit approval from cities and counties, has to come down.… More

FCC chair Wheeler says fiber companies can't hold 5G hostage

7 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Backhaul is critical to development of next generation mobile networks, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in Las Vegas this morning, promising the commission will ensure “that lack of competition in some places cannot be used to hold 5G hostage”.

It doesn’t look like the Federal Communications Commission will be taking up pricing and access regulations for middle mile backhaul in September, though. In what could be his final CTIA keynote as FCC chair, Wheeler promised new rules, but “before the end of this year” and not before the end of the month.… More

Sparse CTIA show looks at dense cell networks

5 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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CTIA – the trade group formerly known as the Cellular Telephone Industries Association – is holding its last show in Las Vegas this week. Next year, it’s combining with the GSM Association to produce a new show in San Francisco. GSMA is the organiser of the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, which is the go-to conference for the mobile industry.

The event will shift to the second week after Labor Day, which presumably will get it out from under Apple’s shadow – as in the past, CEO Tim Cook’s fall announcements, which are usually mobile-focused, will happen right smack in the middle of CTIA’s opening keynote session.… More

Whose network is the network now?

31 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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No network to see here. Move along.

One of the six requests for another appellate court review of the Federal Communications Commission decision to regulate broadband as a common carrier service came from the mobile industry’s lobbying front, CTIA. It objects to being under the same regulatory umbrella as plain old telephone service, as do some of the other appellants.

CTIA’s argument hinges on what the definition of public switched network really is – under federal law, mobile broadband can only be regulated as a common carrier service when connected to it.… More

Datawind squeezes costs out of bandwidth for developing markets

4 October 2014 by Steve Blum
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$80 for a tablet with a year of mobile Internet service included is a powerful selling proposition, particularly in the developing markets that Datawind is targeting. The Canadian company showed its newest tablet – priced at $38 with WiFi connectivity only – at the Showstoppers event at the CTIA show in Las Vegas last month.

Datawind has solved two tough problems: making a cheap and functional tablet and bundling it with even cheaper mobile service in a useful way.… More

Hope still flickers for thoughtful Internet policy at the FCC

16 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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There might yet be an intellectual debate at the FCC about network neutrality. A debate on facts and philosophy, rather than a negotiation for spoils or a partisan punch up. Four commissioners – the entire FCC minus chair Tom Wheeler who did a solo turn earlier – had an hour-long conversation with new CTIA head (and former FCC commissioner) Meredith Baker at a standing room only session at the CTIA show in Las Vegas last week.… More

It's not about the watch, it's about Apple diving into health care

14 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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When Tim Cook unveiled the Apple Watch on Tuesday, and launched into a rapturous description of the digital crown – the old school winding wheel on the side that’s redesigned into a user interface – the first thing I thought was “they made the damn watch for right-handed people”. Any southpaw old enough to remember having to wind a watch every day – yes, me – remembers having to unstrap it and shift hands first.… More

CTIA successfully reboots its mobile industry trade show

13 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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It’s still a work in progress, but the reengineered CTIA wireless trade show looks like it’s relevant enough to mobile industry execs to keep drawing them to Las Vegas. The new show tries to blend content from the CTIA’s traditional big springtime convention and MobileCon, its fall technology conference (or content or apps or whatever – usefully, it never stagnated), and consolidate the show floors.

The exhibits were workmanlike and generated a fair amount of traffic, at least on the first day (the only full day I was there).… More