TECH TALK: 3GSM 2007: Snippets

Here is what others had to say about 3GSM:

The theme of this years 3GSM World Congress was summarised by Naguib Sawiris, chairman and chief executive of Orascom, the Egyptian mobile phone operator, at the first keynote session of the conference.

“This is the time of the emerging markets to come back. Just look at us. We have two Indians and an Egyptian on stage,” he said.

Indeed, a packed auditorium of telecoms executives were hanging on the every word of a powerful “emerging markets” trio of Arun Sarin, chief executive of Vodafone, Sanjiv Ahuja, chief executive of Orange and Mr Sawiris, whose Orascom has a strong grip not only in the Middle East but recently acquired operators in Italy and Greece as well.

Carlo Longino: One thing that was noticeable was the clear invasion of the mobile world by internet brands…It will be interesting to see how this trend plays out, because (surprise surprise), youve got operators doing deals on one side (Vodafone with YouTube and MySpace, for instance), then handset vendors working with some of the same companies (Nokia and YouTube, Yahoo and whoever). While its heartening to see signs of a sea change, a realization that users want access to the services and sites theyre familiar with on their computers, you get the feeling were lining up for another spat over who gets to own the customer or own the relationship or something similarly silly.

Dean Bubley: The only discernable megatrend emerging here in Barcelona is the confirmation that mobile-centric content and operator-specific portals are dead, or at least confined to a handful of small niches & individual national markets…Everything else is about taking the real Internet onto mobile (there isn’t, nor ever has been, nor ever will be, a “mobile Internet”) . YouTube, Google, MySpace, Yahoo and so on – yes, optimised a little bit for mobile devices & networks, but only insofar as browser, screen and network technology can’t quite cope with the full-on web today.

Techdirt Wireless: It’s been a slightly odd event, full of people and companies but largely devoid of the ridiculous hype that’s plagued events of years past. Is the mobile industry finally realizing it just sets itself up to fail by hyping technologies to stupid levels, then failing to deliver on them? Somehow that seems optimistic. Still, a few trends have been clear, chief among them the continued interest in mobile TV and video. What’s interesting, though, is to see non-broadcast video getting a growing amount of attention as smart companies cotton on to the idea that non-linear, channel-organized video isn’t the be-all and end-all of mobile video, and that consumers are going to want mobile access to the sort of internet video content they enjoy on their PC. This is set against the backdrop of a bigger trend: that companies, including handset vendors and operators, are realizing people want internet content on their mobile phones, not some whacked-down mobile-specific content. The two biggest stories of the show, though, were Vodafone’s big Indian acquisition, and the launch of Motorola’s hot MOTORIZR Z8, which despite the silly name, is the kind of device Motorola’s been needing to follow the RAZR.

Jason Ankeny: 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona generated a staggering number of announcements, deals and opinions, and while it will no doubt take some time to sort through and make sense of them all, the one phrase that sticks out for me is “iPhone killer.” It’s an expression bandied about quite a lot lately, especially given that the iPhone itself is still months away from release. Of the many “iPhone killers” launched at 3GSM, perhaps the most intriguing is Music Station, a new subscription service created by London-based Omnifone that offers consumers unlimited downloads from a catalog of over one million songs for 1.99 per week. Omnifone has already signed deals with 23 mobile operators in 40 countries, in large part because, unlike Apple’s iTunes, Music Station promises compatibility with any existing music-capable handset.

Rudy De Waele: This 3GSM is definately too early for the many mobile 2.0 (web) companies, many of them need to work harder on their business models; one may try to go around the operators but I think the next couple of years start-ups need to combine their innovative ideas and technology to work with the network operators to deploy compelling new services, supposing these become available for the masses with affordable fees of course. In any case, this show didnt had any grouped sign of mobile 2.0 companies yet, hopefully we can expect some changes next year.

Tomorrow: Snippets (continued)


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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.