Telecom Timeout

Mar 24 2010   10:11AM GMT

CTIA keynote roundup: Data traffic is growing — shocking!

Jessica Scarpati Jessica Scarpati Profile: Jessica Scarpati

This one comes from the in-case-you’ve-been-hiding-under-a-rock file.

Keynotes are supposed to grip the audience, set the agenda for a conference and offer fresh insight into how industry leaders see the market landscape.

So much for the fresh part. If you missed the first day of keynotes at CTIA Wireless 2010 in Las Vegas, you probably could have recited the talking points in your sleep, anyway:

If you want to watch the video highlights, the CTIA media team did a nice job getting a variety of clips up from Tuesday morning. But if you want the drive-thru version, here are the quick hits:

Ralph de la Vega loves his bar graphs and pie charts. The president of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets and chairman of the CTIA board busted out data point after data point to illustrate how U.S. carriers are global leaders for mobile broadband (kept waiting for the U-S-A chant to break out). To stay ahead, wireless operators will need: mobile data offload (via Wi-Fi hotspots and femtocells), more spectrum, faster networks, new business models and a tighter relationship with app developers. “There is no silver bullet,” de la Vega said.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski prerecorded his address, claiming he would be stuck in Washington to work on national “mobile broadband plan” stuff. Maybe he was afraid the crowd would throw tomatoes at him. Either way, he touted the FCC’s plans to free up 500 Mhz of spectrum over the next decade to help carriers with (guess what) growing mobile broadband usage. “The plan is more than a call to action. It’s a strategy for action,” he said.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson also bemoaned the potential for “stifling regulation” to muzzle innovation and investment — especially as (all together now) mobile broadband usage soars. “We consistently underestimate the growth potential of new connectivity,” Stephenson said.

Don’t shrug off emerging economies, particularly Latin America, advised Iñaki Urdangarín, international chairman for Telefónica. Developing countries’ economies are bouncing back from the recession faster than their more developed counterparts, he said. That spells opportunity for new services, such as Telefónica’s mobile banking service, O2 Money, which extends financial services to the 70% of Latin Americans who don’t have access to banking systems, Urdangarín said.

Samsung is working toward its “Smart Life” initiative, trying to integrate end users’ personal and professional identities and needs into one device, said J.K. Shin, president of South Korean vendor’s mobile communications business. “The future is [the] smartphone,” Shin said. “[But] without content, we will never give consumers what they want — a device that gives them the ability to do everything on the go.”

Samsung showed a quick series of end-user interviews, asking them what they wished their smartphone could do, including — function as an ATM, change the kitty litter and “get me girls’ numbers, like, automatically.” Personally, I’d be most impressed with #2.

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