BARCELONA—Remember that smartphone with a 41-megapixel camera sensor that Nokia announced this week? That’s just the kind of thing operators need to prepare their networks to handle, a topic covered in Thursday’s morning keynote at Mobile World Congress (MWC).
Expectations are high for even more growth in mobile data traffic, and keynote speakers said they’re proponents of open network standards as opposed to closed. Toward that end, Sprint was the first major U.S. operator to offer Google Voice even though that would seem to be an inherent conflict with the operator’s own voice revenue stream.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said voice is just another data stream, and from a pricing point of view, Sprint made a decision to go with an unlimited model that includes voice. And Hesse brought up something else well understood by attendees here but seldom enunciated: Everybody has to make money or the system won’t work.
Hesse said there are two questions he asks when approached about a new partnership. The first is “how do we make money?” and the second is how does the other company make money. The partnership won’t continue unless everyone is making money. That includes the big technology providers all the way down to the developer in a garage.
In terms of meeting network traffic demands, it’s also imperative for infrastructure vendors like ZTE to be able to handle multi-convergence in networks that use 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi and 4G, something ZTE President Shi Lirong pointed out in his presentation.
ARM CEO Warren East said it’s great to see operators make investments to keep up with the huge data demands but they can’t just keep adding capacity forever. Conserving energy in the base station and elsewhere in the network, not just in the device, is a big component and engineers are working diligently on coming up with different architectures.
Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson said Juniper will invest $1 billion in R&D this year and its engineers are always working on incubation projects – concepts that work end up advancing to the next stage.
Thursday was the last day for the convention, which will be held in Barcelona again next year but at a new site.