LTE World Summit
This week I attended the LTE World Summit in Amsterdam, which was extremely well attended by delegates from all parts of the mobile industry and other key companies such as investment houses. The event was a good mix of plenary sessions, choice of three tracks on different themes, breakfast briefings on topical issues and not least there was an exhibition running alongside. This made for an ideal opportunity for delegates to swap between sessions according to their own agendas.
So...what were the headlines? Well, put it this way: I took 25 pages of notes. So I'll just pull out a few points here:
The benefits of LTE were generally summarised as unrestricted internet, optimised infrastructure, ubiquitous access and increased opportunity. However most people who presented and those whom I spoke to were struggling to find more killer apps other than video and gaming and one presenter suggested just it’s all about speed and performance. Which is true to an extent but the question is: is speed itself a product? Comments on a postcard please!
All mobile operators that reported back on trials were very positive. France Telecom, Telecom Italia and Vodafone for example gave detailed presentations about technical parameter testing and the bottom line is that all the benchmarks have been achieved so far. FT will launch commercial service in 2012, TI not before 2H 2011. Achieved downloads speeds (as opposed to peak rates) in trials are typically 50 – 60Mbit/s.
The big questions (apart from applications and services) though revolve around the business model. Talk to three people and you get three ideas. Bandwidth based pricing, device based pricing and flat rate (of course) were all debated long and hard - plus more too. At least the industry has some time to work on different approaches before volume numbers of subscribers jump on board their mega-fast devices, plus there is the experience of current mobile broadband pricing and usage to learn from. There was a whole session devoted to the business model and I concluded that this is probably the single biggest issue.
Right, only the 24 pages of notes left to read through - phew!