Data Devices, More Broadband Are Talk Of CTIA

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LAS VEGAS — Mobile broadband, the 4G rollout, smartphones, and emerging devices such as cellular-embedded netbooks and health-care appliances dominated the developments at CTIA Wireless 2010, where show producer CTIA trumpeted America’s domination of the global mobile-broadband market.

The association warned, however, that wireless-data demand is growing so rapidly that the U.S. could lose its mobile-broadband leadership if it doesn’t continue investing in new capacityexpanding technologies, if the federal government adopts stif ling regulations that deter investment, and if the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) doesn’t provide more wirelessdata spectrum than the 500MHz that it has already promised.

To underscore what CTIA chairman and AT&T Mobility president Ralph de la Vega called America’s “clear leadership in mobile broadband by just about any measure,” carriers and handset vendors at the show announced the industry’s first 3G/4G phones, new smartphones that double as e-readers, more smartphones with HD-video capture and embedded mobile Wi-Fi hot spot, new 3Gequipped mobile-computing devices, and 3G- and 4G-network expansion plans.

LG Electronics

also showed prototypes of three cellphones with built-in Mobile ATSC DTV tuners.

Among the show data developments was the announcement of T-Mobile’s first 3G-embedded netbook and a timetable for adding faster HSPA+ wirelessdata technology to its 3G footprint.

Mobile WiMAX operator


revealed the names of the next cities that will get commercial 4G service as it expands its network to 120 million people by year’s end.


demonstrated the HTC-made CTIA continued from page 1 3G/4G Evo smartphone, which features the latest Android 2.1 OS.

For its part,


announced the first U.S.-market 3G/4G cellphone to use Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G technology. Samsung also said it plans a summertime U.S. launch of an Android 2.1 smartphone, the Galaxy S, with ability to download movies and TV shows as well as books and periodicals.

In addition,


showed the previously announced HTC-made HD2 Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone, available from T-Mobile with movie downloading via Wi-Fi, e-book downloading, and embedded Wi-Fi hot spot.

In other carrier announcements,


announced plans to offer Palm’s WebOS-based Pre Plus and Pixi Plus as well as Dell’s first U.S. smartphone, the Android-based Aero, formerly called the Mini 3, and

Verizon Wireless

certified multiple mobile computing devices and a hybrid cellphone/cordless desktop phone for use on its 3G network.

Even before the new data-centric product and network plans become reality, data accounted for almost 29 percent of carrier revenues in 2009, CTIA announced.

Other metrics cited by AT&T’s de la Vega at the show further underscored the centrality of data to carrier’s marketing strategies now that cellphone penetration reached 90 percent of the U.S. population at the end of 2009 and will rise to 105 percent by the end of 2013, according to market research company Informa.

Although the U.S. is home to only 7 percent of the world’s wireless customers, de la Vega said during a keynote address, the U.S. accounts for about 33 percent of 3G customers, defined as using HSPA and CDMA 1x EV-DO products.

The U.S. also has more Wi-Fi hot spots than any other nation, with 70,000; U.S. smartphone sales of 53 million in 2010 will be twice that of the country with the second highest unit volume, and U.S. carriers’ capital expenditures on mobile broadband currently exceed that of any other country or region, he said.

U.S. carriers’ could cede their world leadership in wireless data, however, unless they continue to work aggressively to meet growing data demand, he told showgoers. To do so, carriers need 800MHz of new spectrum, not the 500MHz promised by the FCC over 10 years.

And because it will take time for new spectrum to come online, carriers must continue to invest in such capacity-expanding 4G technologies as LTE, use Wi-Fi and in-home femtocells to reroute some data traffic onto landline broadband networks, and work with applications developers to ensure their applications are as spectrum-efficient as possible.

The ability of U.S. carriers to maintain their data leadership in the world is by no means a certainty, AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson told the industry during his keynote. Private investment to expand data capacity “will not flourish if well-intentioned but generally stifling regulation” is imposed by regulators, he warned.


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