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Jetlag & Powerful Connections at Mobile World Congress 2014

By Mike Collado
March 3rd, 2014

IMG_20140222_105905_697[1]Mobile World Congress is a mashup of experiential perspectives.

If you’re a glass-is-half-empty type, MWC is about sleep deprivation. 45-minute waits in the queue at the metro or taxi stand. And sore feet (our friend Zoran Kehler at Reverb Networks says he averaged 15,000+ steps per day based upon his Nike Fuel Band!).

If you’re the glass-is-half-full type, it’s the chance to connect with global business and technology partners to initiate solutions that will be showcased next year in Barcelona. Swill caipirinhas with FierceWireless editors Mike Dano and Phil Goldstein at 1:30 AM. Or share a taxi with Damon Wayans.

MWC is also full of contradictions.

In spite of drawing more than 85,000 attendees, MWC is an incredibly cozy event where one is constantly bumping into current and former colleagues among the sea of people.

And even though the only common denominator in the Fira Gran Via is mobile, friends such as iBwave say MWC and the unfocused sprawl across eight enormous exhibit halls is by far the most impactful conference on their event calendar.

So, what did we learn?

A common theme was that the industry continues to struggle to discern between the slideware and facts surrounding the use of indoor and outdoor small cells to solve for network densification.

Last fall, Ken Rehbehn at Yankee Group quipped that small cell hype had outpaced reality. And many attendees at MWC were inquiring where the small cells are.

It’s long been our position that small cells are not the death knell for Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) as some have previously suggested. Widespread deployment of small cells is inevitable, but DAS isn’t going away. Rather, both will play important roles in a pragmatic “toolbox” approach.

Which ushers in a related topic: backhaul strategies for network densification. Which appears to be the elephant in the room compared to the hot topic of small cells (our friend analyst Iain Gillott at iGR previously blogged about this).

Much ado has justifiably been made of wireless backhaul technologies. Yet industry experts at last year’s Small Cells World Summit told us that wireless operators prefer fiber when it is available. And through our experience in working with wireless operators in South Korea, we know that interference from everyday occurrences such as buses, rainstorms and – er – bird poop can significantly impact wireless backhaul QoS.

Fact is, given the scarcity of real estate and business process to ubiquitously roll out densification strategies such as oDAS and small cells, backhaul similarly requires a toolkit approach.

We’ll have more on these topics in future posts.

For a concise and spot-on (in our opinion) take on MWC 2014, check out Frank Rayal‘s (Xona Partners) post: Observations on MWC 2014 – My Takeaways.

And now for the photos…

 

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Team SOLiD celebrating another successful week in Barcelona

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Before: Building our stand

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After: Ready to greet visitors

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Flamenco dancing during Pepcom’s MobileFocus Global pre-event cocktail

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Ken Sandfeld showcases SOLiD’s new products for RCR Wireless’s Jeff Mucci

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Sue Marek (FierceWireless), Jinsung Choi (SK Telecom), Kris Rinne (AT&T), Aicha Evans (Intel), Chris Pearson (4G Americas) & Rasmus Hellberg (Qualcomm) present during the Road to LTE Advanced luncheon

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SOLiD’s Cloud RAN solutions will play a role in the Road to LTE Advanced

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The ongoing construction of Gaudi’s Sagrada Família

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Gaudi’s Barcelona Cathedral

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La Rambla

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One of the many vendors at La Boqueria off La Rambla

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A ghost town. The Fira Gran Via clears out fast. See you in 2015!

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