Carriers make their case
Mobile World Congress is run by the GSMA, a trade group of global carriers. So it's logical the event begins with a series of keynotes where leading carriers get to present their view of the mobile world.
Franco Bernabe, chairman of the GSMA and of Telecom Italia, kicked off the event with a state of the industry address. He said carriers need to build out next-generation LTE networks while maintaining solid customer relationships in the face of disruptive threats from "over-the-top" service providers. In this climate, regulators need to take a more constructive approach to helping carriers build the mobile industry by providing more spectrum, less bureaucracy and lower fees.
Bernabe's themes were echoed by many of his peers including Li Yue, chief executive of China Mobile, the world's largest carrier with 650 million subscribers.
Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodaphone, called for a new business model in which industry stakeholders co-invest in building the network. The bill for building LTE nets just in Europe could hit $30 billion, he said.
AT&T chief executive Ralph de la Vega called for the industry to enable video calls that are as easy to make as voice calls. Such a capability will accelerate the growth of mobile nets that are already on a tear. More than six billion people now use mobile nets, a figure expected to jump to ten billion by 2016, he said.