HomeInsightsA warm welcome back

    A warm welcome back


    A hearty welcome back to your desks to all those readers who, like Mobile Europe, spent Monday to Thursday last week at the 3GSM World Congress — and Friday recovering from it. Was it only a week ago we turned our face to the wind and made that first trip along the marquee infested sea front to the waiting queues outside the Palais de Festival?

    The sun may not have shone on Cannes, but the temperature of the Congress was notably warmer than in the last three years. There was a collective sigh of relief that finally the industry has some real live active 3G networks up and running. And this was despite the fact that the operator with the most UMTS networks, 3, had not chosen to come along to the Riviera to tell the world how it was done. Wonder why?

    Orange was there in full, however, turning up the pressure on its three UMTS equipment suppliers – especially newcomer Nortel, which had been given the job of providing a trial 3G network for Cannes.
    Nortel’s vp of UMTS solutions, Scott Wickware, told Mobile Europe that although the pressure had been on to ensure the network performed well, “there isn’t a man inside each base station making sure it all holds together.” You can be sure they considered it, though.

    There were other 3G sighs of relief as well, notably from T-Mobile, along with a tempering awareness that corporate data card services, while providing a start, aren’t exactly what 3G is all about.

    There was the traditional blast from a big operator (Vodafone) about the lack of handsets. There followed little in the way of traditional counter-blast from the handset vendors. You wouldn’t want to offend Mr Sarin these days. Talking of which, it was tickling to see Sarin and Nokia’s Jorma Ollila share a platform. It seemed very much as though Nokia has bought into the Vodafone Live! concept in order to get back into Vodafone’s handset good books.

    It was a little bit like watching the best-looking boy and girl get together at the school disco — who is doing who a favour in the relationship is very much up for grabs. But for the moment, it looks as if it is the one spending the money that is calling the shots. 

    Elsewhere, we were particularly pleased to get button-holed by a vendor of a messaging, well, vision is all we can term it, that was giving a good old-fashioned blood and thunder, clear blue water presentation on the merits of its smart messaging engine. For pure chutzpah and energy it made us come over all nostalgic for the glory days. The company is Avalanche Mobile, and boy have they got a lot to talk about.

    But just in case things seem to be getting too far ahead of themselves, one industry watcher told us how he was bemused to have been told by one operator prior to the event that the big issue of the congress would be “GPRS interoperability.” Perhaps we haven’t come as far as we thought.

    For more on the stories mentioned here and many, many more, Mobile Europe will be providing a full post-Cannes round-up in its March issue – out soon in print and online. Click the subscribe button to get the full story.