Remaining Optimistic About CTIA ‘09

The annual CTIA conference kicked off in Las Vegas earlier today. Due to a conflict I was unable to make it for opening day, however, I’ll be on the conference floor both Thursday and Friday of this week.

According to today’s press releases about the show’s attendance more than 1,000 folks have registered to attend this event. Of the many wireless/mobile conferences in the U.S., I highly recommend you check out CTIA in the future if you have never attended before.

I first went to CTIA in 2007 when we were in our early stages of developing our Text-to-Talk products. My focus when attending CTIA that first time was to meet with all the major Short Messaging Service Center (SMSC) providers like Click-a-Tell, Sybase 365, VeriSign, etc. in order to establish SMS Points of Presence in the different countries we were targeting for these products.

While at the 2007 CTIA conference, I couldn’t help but be distracted by what was then a plethora of new mobile technologies. I’m referring to smart phones, mobile TV, voice-mail to text services, GPS, etc. Now, only two years later, we have 3G technologies, 4G and LTE networks are being engineered, and the end-all be-all game changer the Apple iPhone now exists and in my opinion is the ultimate Unified Communication tool for the consumer.

Given the poor economic climate we are currently in, the telecom industry has been no stranger to numerous layoffs, cutbacks, and even some Chapter 11s. So, as I prepare for CTIA tomorrow I’m trying to remain optimistic about the new technologies and services that the mobile operators and MVNOs will unveil. I suspect this industry to be focused more on providing value and savings to the consumer versus new and innovative services. In recent months numerous MVNOs have begun offering unlimited calling plans and they are in a fast paced race to gain market share. Reducing customer churn is also high on the priority list for all mobile operators and MVNOs right now.

In late February ‘09, Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOM assembled a Wireless Scorecard based on Q4 ’08 statistics from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. Based on Stacey’s breakdown she concludes that cheap rate plans win and that the iPhone is helping to keep AT&T running strong. To note, these numbers were released just prior to Sprint and T-Mobile releasing their $50 unlimited prepaid plans so this year’s Q1 numbers should answer whether those plans proved successful or not.

Tomorrow I’ll have a better since of what’s happening and how the carriers are responding. I remain optimistic and look forward to CTIA ’09 along with the other 1,000 attendees that I’ll be sharing the conference floor with.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP

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One Response to “Remaining Optimistic About CTIA ‘09”

  1. Brian Kirk Says:

    a big thanks to Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM for keeping us up to date with the status of the mobile operators & MVNOs in the U.S.

    MetroPCS Boosts Q1 Subscribers by 51%

    It’s a good time to be a budget cell phone company, judging by the subscriber numbers out this morning from MetroPCS. The cellular operator added 687,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter of this year, up 51 percent over last quarter’s record number. MetroPCS, which provides flat-rate service on a month-to-month basis to customers in limited markets, now has a total of 6 million subscribers vs. 4.4 million in the same period a year ago. It’s capitalizing on the financial crisis to emphasize its pre-paid cell plans, flat-rate pricing and good in-home coverage, which enables subscribers to dump their land lines. It also, however, saw churn rise from to 5 percent from 4 percent, reflecting a rise in the amount of turnover from month to month via subscribers who drop or then restart their plans.

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