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4G/3G/WiFi

CTIA: Behind the Devices

8:00 AM -- CTIA 's annual spring show is right around the corner, and this year -- provided AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) doesn't drop an acquisition bomb right before it again -- there should be plenty of time for news and discussions.

Part of the reason CTIA moved the show from March to May was in hopes of capturing some back-to-school device announcements. But, I think the most exciting parts of the show won't be around device launches necessarily, but deeper in the network.

I've already preached on why 2012 is the year of Long Term Evolution (LTE), but I think we'll see four specific areas come into focus at CTIA that support that bold statement. (See CTIA: Where 4G Heats Up.)

  • LTE-Advanced: The evolution of feeds and speeds for LTE is always a big topic. The marketing guys are excited about LTE-Advanced, because it gives them another term to butcher -- I mean, market -- for its super-fast speeds. And, another group, the testing vendors, are particularly pumped for it because there's a lot that goes into the network -- carrier aggregation, multiple antenna considerations and site upgrades -- that means job security for them at least through 2014. (See Ready or Not, Here Comes LTE-Advanced and Sprint Plans LTE-Advanced Launch in 2013.)

  • Wi-Fi offload:: Buzz around Wi-Fi offload has been loud enough to convince Ruckus Wireless Inc. the time is right for an initial public offering. We'll also hear more on the network savior from big guys like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which unveiled its offload strategy at Mobile World Congress, and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), which recently acquired a Wi-Fi play through BelAir Networks. (See More IPO Ruckus , Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions and Ericsson Adds Wi-Fi With BelAir Buy .)

  • Small cells: Of course, when it comes to offload, Wi-Fi goes hand-in-hand with a small cell strategy. All the wireless operators have one, and increasingly it's including access points that pack LTE, Wi-Fi, 3G and backhaul into one. I'll be curious to hear more about Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s approach, in particular, since it plans to expand its small cell underlay to supports its Network Vision buildout. (See What I Learned at Sprint…)

  • Mobile video: Wireless operators wouldn't be as concerned with the three aforementioned topics if it weren't for this one, mobile video. For every new phone or tablet we see that shows video in higher resolution and sound quality than ever before, I expect to hear a way or two the operators plan to address all that resulting traffic. Hopefully the content and apps makers will be thinking a little about that too.

    This list isn't too dissimilar from show's past, but with nearly half the year behind us and first-quarter earnings just wrapped up, there should be more concrete details to talk about. Let us know what you're expecting to see in the comments below. See you on the show floor!

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

  • sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:34:06 PM
    re: CTIA: Behind the Devices

    I really do think CTIA will be interesting from a conversations standpoint, but I'm not expecting much device news at all - which is too bad since CTIA was hoping for that. Maybe Verizon will unveil the next Droid, but that's about it. Is Samsung even going to bring the Galaxy 3 with it? I hope so!

    kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:34:00 PM
    re: CTIA: Behind the Devices

    More so than new devices what is needed are some new plans... pricing plans in general. We can't get to family plans soon enough, can we?


    As for LTE-Advanced... does that mean you can now burn through your data plan in a few minutes as opposed to a few hours? 

    kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:34:00 PM
    re: CTIA: Behind the Devices

    More so than new devices what is needed are some new plans... pricing plans in general. We can't get to family plans soon enough, can we?


    As for LTE-Advanced... does that mean you can now burn through your data plan in a few minutes as opposed to a few hours? 

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