MWC 2012: Larger Devices, Smaller Cells!

MWC 2012 Larger Devices Smaller Cells

Just back home from MWC’12… What a show this year… Over 67,000 attendees and some 1500 exhibitors, and some student protests in the mix… It was the biggest to date and a good finale for the Fira before moving next year to a new nearby location.

For those in the mobile infrastructure space, long gone are the days when infrastructure set the agenda. The show is now strongly dominated by the handset and applications of mobile technology to everyday life: in the home, the car, applications for entertainment and for health and everything else conceivable. Surely, the show is no longer bound for the industry’s elite, but is becoming a major consumer event. The crowds jamming the Samsung booth for a peak at the latest tablets and the buzz and excitement of the App Planet are but a couple of examples.

To outline one trend, it is clear there will be no letup in data service growth. Handset vendors are moving to implement larger 4” screens which are bound to simplify user experience and drive higher demand for data services.  Tablet capabilities continue to improve and while still not a replacement for a laptop, the objective to provide a platform that maximizes harmonization is on.

These trends on devices are matched by the realization on the infrastructure side of the need for different solutions to alleviate the capacity problem. Hence, many announcements centered on carrier WiFi for offload and small cell and heterogeneous networks by the likes of Cisco (NGH/Hotspot 2.0), Alcatel Lucent (LightRadio) and Ericsson (which has traditionally been hostile to small cells trends, but wanted to play the game with its acquisition of BelAir Networks). Distributed Antenna System (DAS) vendors had a good showing as well.

So to sum it up, larger screens and devices are trending which consequently is driving smaller infrastructure form factors. This paradigm shift may have some interesting consequences on the implementation of wireless technologies. Can more antennas be now packed on devices while further increasing their numbers on base stations becomes more constrained?

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About Frank Rayal
Technology strategy, markets and M&As

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