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The year mobile got BIG: key trends from Mobile World Congress
Four days of cutting edge innovation, industry insight and packed schedules - once again Mobile World Congress lived up to expectations.
For us this year was all about big devices, big processors and big networks to cope with extreme data demands.
Four key themes stood out…
#1 Bigger and quicker devices
Larger screens, faster processors and multi-cores grabbed the headlines.
Advanced features were also in abundance, including LTE and Near Field Communication which will play a notable role in mobile payments.
With innovative features too numerous to list, one thing in common is the growing appetite of these data hungry devices.
#2 The mobile wallet
Although much activity was focused on the purchase of goods via mobiles in developed markets, it is not just these territories where m-commerce is relevant.
Citi outlined over 5 billion people have mobiles but there is only 1.8 billion bank accounts. The key message was on developing technology and business cases to enable easy and secure payments via mobile – particularly relevant to the high population of unbanked customers in emerging markets.
#3 Higher-order modulation
Impressive technical achievements were on show from microwave vendors with higher-order modulation schemes moving from 256QAM to 1024QAM, and even 2048QAM in the case of NEC.
Although this increases capacity, the average peak to mean ratio for data traffic is still 4:1 which leaves the backhaul link utilised by only 25%.
We’ve found aggregating cell site traffic through statistical multiplexing can have equally impressive capacity gains and maximise spectral efficiency.
Dr John Naylon, CTO at CBNL, discusses higher-order modulation at this year’s event.
#4 Het-nets and small cell backhaul
Het-nets were clearly on the agenda for operators, with strategies focused on deploying the likes of LTE and Wi-Fi to areas of high traffic demand.
Small cells will play an important role in serving het-nets and small cell backhaul was a big issue.
Surprisingly we witnessed very few firm backhaul proposals which addressed operator’s requirements of coverage, capacity and low cost.
There was a strong consensus from analysts that wireless backhaul is more relevant than ever in this context and that operators main concerns are; fibre cost and deployment time; total cost of ownership; backhaul logistics and cost per mbps of traffic.
We proposed our own point to multipoint microwave small cell backhaul solution which mirrors the network configuration found in the radio access network. We believe this one of the few that addresses operator’s key requirements of capacity, coverage and cost.
So with MWC 2012 behind us, it’s time to start preparing for 2013. With the GSMA announcing a change of venue to the impressive Fira de Barcelona Gran, there is much to look forward to.