There are 1.1 billion fixed lines and four billion mobile users globally, which gives a sense of the importance of the industry and its leading event.
Last year was a recessionary story at Mobile World Congress; this year will be different. There is optimism and growth again.
Applications and broadband will feature heavily this week. We are running the App Planet in Hall 7, an event within an event, and expect it to attract 3,000-5,000 developers who want to know more about designing applications for tier-one vendors.
Apple has been dominant in the apps space and now everyone wants a piece of the action.
The uptake of mobile broadband has been huge, also. There are 200 million subscribers on HSPA networks, with one billion anticipated by 2012. The industry will address three key areas with regards mobile broadband this week – health care, utilities and transport.
Health, in particular, will be important for the industry, and funding of all those types of verticals will be discussed.
The embedded space is experiencing huge growth also, and the GSMA will address how this sector is working with others.
Clearly, there will be a series of handset announcements. Nokia and LG are to host events off site, but they will have large delegations present. LG remains a platinum sponsor of the event.
The reasons manufacturers are increasingly hosting events off site is because they need to find a way to make their voices heard, and to try to find their place to make announcements.