Mobile World Congress (MWC) the new name for 3GSM in Barcelona illustrated last month that wireless, wireline, carrier, enterprise, infrastructure and applications are all converging into a new ecosystem of communications.
Arun Sarin, chief executive of Vodafone, opened the Congress with a keynote session calling upon the mobile industry to simplify its future development and continue to adopt common standards. A central theme of Sarin’s discussion focused on whether WiMAX should become part of long-term evolution (LTE).
Sarin said he hoped WiMAX would become more closely linked with LTE. “More importantly, we do not want dual standards,” he said.
“This has proved unproductive in the past, and we want to encourage the
inclusion or merging of WiMAX into LTE.”
Also on the first day, Viviane Reding, the European Union’s telecoms commissioner, held an impromptu press briefing outside the event (which in itself is not unusual, although it is impossible to get from the hotel to the Fira de Barcelona conference centre and catch them all).
Reding insisted that operators must be able to justify high prices with what it costs them to provide a roaming service. “If not, they will have to disappear,” she said.
“I want clear and measurable benchmarks that all European GSM members should reach by 1 July this year,” said Reding. “On 1 July, I will take stock of what exists and put the existing prices on a website. SMS is her first attack point, but her views were not shared by the mobile carriers.
Apple dominated 3GSM last year, but news of GSM support for the iPhone was conspicuous by its absence, although there were shades of iPhone touch-screen capabilities from companies such as LG and Samsung to name but a few.
Sony Ericsson launched its first phone to support Windows Mobile 6. GPS was the new feature that spawned many personal navigation devices at the show. With a clutch of new devices running Windows Mobile 6, thoughts turned to security and McAfee was among the many security companies on hand to discuss the topic. And with Samsung and Sony Ericsson positioned second and fourth in the leading handset manufacturers Top 10, Windows starts to become relevant.
Smartphones, with the capability to incorporate mobile Web 2.0 technologies, increase the amount of personal data held on mobile devices and therefore the increased security risk is a double-whammy.
McAfee built on last year’s survey of 200 mobile operators (figure 1) with
its survey of end-user perceptions. With more than 2,000 consumers taking part
in the 2008 survey, the results cannot be ignored, especially as it can only be
a matter of time because more than 79 per cent of the three billion subscribers
are currently using unprotected devices (figures 2 and 3).
The results show that more than a third of today’s mobile users do not feel safe, or have doubts, about whether mobile services and the devices themselves are safe to use.
The figures also reveal that users who are already aware that mobile security breaches have happened are more than 50 per cent more likely to be concerned over the security of their mobile services. A case of ignorance is bliss.
Keith Humphreys is managing consultant at euroLAN
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