The WiMAX/LTE battle, App Stores and Mobile Healthcare headed the agenda at this year’s CTIA Wireless conference in Las Vegas…
1. Sprint poised to launch first Mobile WiMAX handset…
Sprint has been the only US carrier to commit to deploying Mobile WiMAX, and has announced the imminent launch of the EVO: manufactured by HTC, it comes complete with a 1GHz-Snapdragon processor, 4.3 inch screen and an 8 megapixel camera. The device also features a Sprint hotspot application that enables it to connect up to eight additional devices to WiFi.
2. … but rivals hit back with a raft of LTE deals
Despite Sprint’s hope that other carriers might offer WiMAX/LTE interoperability, there appears to have been a hardening in the attitude of those committed to LTE, with both Verizon and AT&T effectively ruling out such an option. Meanwhile, Verizon has confirmed Alcatel-Lucent as the supplier for its LTE backhaul network, and Samsung has been exhibiting both its forthcoming LTE-capable handset, the SCH-r900, and LTE network infrastructures.
3. Operators continuing push for own-brand Apps Stores
The surge of interest amongst vendors and carriers in launching apps stores shows no sign of abating, with Verizon Wireless confirming that it will be launching the V CAST Apps Store on March 29th, although support will initially be limited to the BlackBerry Storm and Storm 2.
4. More spectrum, less regulation
There is general consensus amongst the carriers that more spectrum will be required to facilitate the transition to mobile broadband and the attendant upsurge in data usage. In their respective keynotes, AT&T Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega called for the FCC to expedite the provision of the 500MHz of bandwidth it has promised, while AT&T’s Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson also called for telecommunications to be subjected to a more “light touch” regulatory regime to encourage investment.
5. Mobile healthcare the key market opportunity
As Sprint CEO Dan Hesse spoke of 4G services providing the opportunity to “revolutionise” healthcare, there was been a marked interest in the CTIA’s wireless health programming and exhibitor pavilion, with exhibitors demonstrating a wide portfolio of apps covering remote monitoring and mobile healthcare solutions.
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