The key themes emerging from the 2008 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are faster mobile broadband speeds and the environmental sustainability of the mobile industry.
“This year many keynote speakers at the Mobile World Congress are pointing to the need to green the industry and maximise on the opportunities of increased mobile broadband speeds. Both trends are good for business and the consumer,” observes Richard Simpson, director at BulkSMS.com and a delegate at the congress.
Mobile broadband allows users to access the Internet from anywhere on their mobile phones or laptop computers.
Arun Sarun, CEO of Vodafone, states that currently speeds of 7,2Mbps are possible on some Vodafone networks and, in the near future, speeds of 14,4Mbps can be expected.
In the longer term, according to Carl-Henric Svanberg, Ericsson’s CEO, we can look forward to speeds of 200Mbps with a technology standard called LTE (Long Term Evolution). The first deployments of LTE are expected in 2009.
“The increased speed of mobile broadband will have significant benefits for business and private users in countries, such as South Africa, where there has been a rapid uptake of mobile broadband. Not only will better access speeds stimulate further adoption of the mobile broadband but consumers will have faster access to online services via their cellphone,” says Simpson.
Many speakers have emphasised their company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and outlined corporate social responsibility initiatives that address the recycling or re-sue of mobile products.
Wang Jianzhou, CEO of China Telecom, described the "Green Box Programme", which offers the network’s clients a channel to return old or broken cellphones to distributors, ensuring that mobile e-waste is properly disposed of, and maximising the recycling of cellphone components.
Nokia’s CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, introduced his company’s latest cellphone offering, the Remade – a stylish mobile phone made completely from recycled materials. It has low energy consumption and is built with non-toxic electronics. The phone is to be launched in the market in the near future.
According to Simpson, although companies may make decisions based on what they feel is environmentally responsible, this is not the whole picture.
“Consumers are also driving these decisions as companies cannot sell services that are not demanded. This means that there is a growing demand for green mobile products and services from informed consumers who take seriously a company’s stand on environmental responsibly.”