There was a bit of news this week coming from the International CTIA Wireless trade event, which is taking part in Las Vegas. The annual trade event has traditionally had more of a focus on wireless communications technology and the issues of wireless communication than other events, notably the Consumer Electronics Show or Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress. And unlike other trade shows, this one has the international industry trade group, the CTIA, as the event’s sponsor and promoter.
The CTIA – The Wireless Association, as it is officially known, represents the interests of various wireless telecommunications companies. The current name, which it adopted in 2004 to better represent the expanding industry, is actually only a pseudo-acronym. Originally, CTIA was known as the Cellular Telephone Industries Association, but as cellular is just one small part of the evolving wireless industry, the company went with the more confusing moniker. Wouldn’t it have been easy to just change the name to WTIA? As I often ask, what is in a name?
T-Mobile Announced Faster 3G Network, and Introduced a Netbook
What is announced in Vegas doesn’t necessarily have much of an effect on Vegas. That’s certainly true this week as T-Mobile showcased its new plans to upgrade its national high-speed 3G service to HSPA+. The faster network is scheduled to be in place in more than 100 metropolitan areas with support for 185 million customers. However, currently HSPA+ has been made available to New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, suburban Washington, D.C., and with deployment coming to Los Angeles soon. Las Vegas it seems will have to wait a little longer.
HSPA+, as I’ve previously reported, will be fully backward compatible with HSPA 7.2-enabled devices, so customers on T-Mobile using the 3G-compatible devices should be able to experience faster speeds without the need to upgrade. One product that might be worth the upgrade, however, is T-Mobile’s first netbook. Business travelers across the country will now be able to get on T-Mobile’s webConnect via the Dell Inspiron Mini 10, the first in a series of mobile computing devices that the carrier plans to bring out this year.
Other CTIA Highlights:
4G Battle Brewing – Research firm Strategy Analytics noted that the United States will likely be ground zero in the battle for 4G as operators roll out competing services, including the LTE and WiMAX, not to mention T-Mobile’s aforementioned HSPA+ technology to compete with 4G. The research firm is predicting there will be around 20 million LTE subscribers in the U.S. by the end of 2012, and possible 6 million more WiMAX customers. This could easily be about one quarter of the worldwide 4G subscriptions.
Motorola Gets Pushy – The big M announced the first push-to-talk Android handset, the Motorola i1, a smartphone-styled handset that features a sleek touchscreen with a Swype keyboard that will still be push-to-talk durable. The i1 will feature Wi-Fi support, a 3.1-inch touchscreen, a 5-megapixel flash camera and come with the Opera Mini 5 browser installed.