My impressions of Mobile World Congress Barcelona and top 10

A bit delayed but I think I will cover some topics which have not been covered adequately before. I also intend to blog more about the companies/topics covered here.

Here are my impressions of MWC Barcelona.


This year, in one sense everything had changed and in another sense nothing has changed. Yes there is a recession and it will be an extinction event for many companies – but in another sense the fundamentals of the industry remain sound. People still buy phones. Networks continue to grow in capacity. New devices continue to exploit that capability and we see innovative services. So I am optimistic about the industry.

The conference itself had relatively fewer attendees but it continued to attract influencers from all organizations and many – including me – have done well in terms of real business at this event

Firstly, re my session (Business of Mobile 2.0)

I was speaking and chairing the Business of Mobile 20 sessions (stretching about 4 hours!) which I believe – from GSMA feedback- was one of the highest attended sessions at the conference. Many thanks to all who helped with this and also attended it

So here are my top ten impressions of the conference: in many cases, these are potentially

future blogs

But before these, the most important impression

Apart from the impact of the recession, there were two overarching themes this year – namely Appstores and LTE. But I think the third is ‘Deep service integration between devices, networks and services’

Everyone had an ‘appstore’ announcement – including Nokia, RIM, Microsoft, Symbian, O2, Apple, Android and even Surf Kitchen! In my view, not many of these appstores will succeed. A more complex trend was that of ‘deep integration’ of services, devices and networks. This is a far more complex and to me, a profitable trend. In other words, I see appstores as Long Tail – and ‘Deep integration’ as a parallel strategy (which may also be profitable). This will need more than one blog but it is important to indicate that I see the ‘Deep integration’ of services as the most important underlying industry trend for Network Operators and devices.

For appstores to succeed – you need reach and the willingness to share revenue with third parties and to be a true platform. Not many appstores will achieve truly this – and many appstore announcements are simply window dressing existing portals or trying to catch a wave. Of the appstores, I see Nokia, Android, Google, Microsoft, RIM and iPhone to be getting traction. It’s too early to say about the rest.

The following are interesting service/deep integration announcements that caught my attention(and will be subject of more blogs)

• Nokia N97 – Skype integration into address book

• INQ1 phone – Social network integration into address book(INQ1)

fusionone – Network Address book backup

• Multimedia SIM/SCWS – Secure applications and also secure, transportable contacts across devices – Presentation from Frederic Martinent of Gemalto in The Business of Mobile 2.0 session

LG Arena- HSDPA phone ..

And now here are the Top 10.

1) Top press releases and announcements which caught my attention

Lucent Verizon LTE

Nokia skype integration for N97

Vodafone android in context of previous Vodafone limo announcements

2) Memorable quote:

Robert Hamilton of Google. To paraphrase – Open does not mean ‘no structures’ – rather it means creating structures which are fun, evolving and dynamic which allow users to explore. Playframe vs. cage. And also from Robert Hamilton – The London bridge now sends out a Twitter feed :) Every time a ship passes below the London bridge, it sends a twitter update which you can ‘follow’

3) Industry development worth noting – the promotion of innovation by the GSMA (GSMA awards) and the site Mobile Innovation . More blogs on this later

4) Most innovative business model I heard – User generated advertising from itsmy. Basically, Users can choose to ‘advertise’ i.e. promote their own profiles on the social network. This is fascinating and unique and as we see below – we see lots of takers for this idea. The users can create and book their banner advertising. The UK users pay 1.00 GBP for 600 page impressions. Both guys and girls ‘pimp’ their own profiles. This is REALLY cool and just the sort of innovation we need from companies in a recession

itsmy user generated advertising.JPG

5) Most interesting devices – Palm Pre, LG Arena, Nokia Skype(Nokia N97), Modu and the INQ1 device

6) Best session – outside my own (ha ha) – NGMN Next Generation Mobile Network – especially presentations from Seizo Onoe of NTT DoCoMo Dr Jinsung Choi of LG. I will blog more about these in another blog. Martin has blogged about the DoCoMo presentation and the session here

7) Biggest contrast - Lack of adverting in relation to previous events – ex outside the FIRA

8) Interesting people I met : Martin Sauter , C Enrique Ortiz , Paul Golding , Mark Selby , Frederic Martinent , David wood and many others – and of course everyone who attended my session

9) Good to see progress made since last year: OMTP Bondi and also GSMA third party access network APIs

10) Wondering why Apple is still not at MWC. This can be a mistake. Today, we see many devices which come close and soon the differentiation will be lost for the iPhone

That’s all for now! More blogs on the service integration coming soon!


  1. Yeah, I really missed a post like that. Few people wrote an overall.
    You talked about mobile advertising, what you think about Turkcell winning Global Mobile Awards?

  2. pretty good summary

  3. Tols says:

    Nice, you’re itsmy link contains a comma instead of a www-dot!