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4G: the Mobile Revolution, or Slow Evolution?

by David Keene

The Mobile Content frenzy, led in part by consumer-led demand for smartphones and content on the go, as well as new generation bandwidth offerings that could give a huge boost to the digital signage market, continues full-bore. But separating the hype from the real technology is not easy.

Make no mistake: great things are going on in the Mobile revolution. Still, I’ve been saying the past year or so: “the politics of the cellular carriers in this country (with those behemoths more focused on just winning the telephone market share wars than on new-generation technology) is holding back mobile/DS integration… “
Can I still say that, with iPhone, and now the iPad, changing things? (Let’s put aside Apple’s Flash aversion for the moment.) Maybe not, but it still seems like we’re missing the momentum of the cell phone carriers to really offer better platforms, more bandwidth.. not just good, but great physical platforms.

Pure technology, not politics, is at the heart of much of the excitement. Specifically, 4G. 4G data services promise to deliver up to 20 times the performance over typical 3G network speed. This increase in speed/bandwidth could facilitate truly interactive digital signage–two way “conversations” between consumers and providers, for example.

As I reported in our special supplement on Wireless Networking/Content Delivery for Digital Signage, 4G is coming.
(download the report at:

Sprint has their 4G WiMax in 20 markets now. Verizon, ATT, and Telus are using 4G LTE, a new technology being provided from Alcatel Lucent. (A lot of 700 Mhz spectrum was acquired by Alcatel during the Federal Communications auctions in 2006 and 2009.) But it was only in last few months, that 4G LTE was tested in real rollouts. At the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, on February 15, Alcatel-Lucent announced that it successfully made the first 4G calls in the framework of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) lab tests Telefónica conducted in Latin America. In a second phase when the field tests will start (date as yet unspecified), the 700 MHz and 2,6 GHz frequencies will be used to assess LTE’s performance in terms of coverage and capacity, and, ostensibly, supporting the delivery of new mobile multimedia applications such as high-definition video streaming, mobile gaming, high-speed file transfers, video conferencing, and rich, two-way digital signage content.

So, maybe by the time 4G World rolls around in the fall, some of this will be straightened out. 4G World 2010 will be held October 18-21, 2010 at McCormick Place, Chicago. For further information on the 4G World event series visit

Here is the report from yesterday, on 4G World, from, the show’s parent site:

  • 4G WORLD 2010 - Empowering Mobile Networks, Applications & Services

Since our inaugural event in Chicago last September, we have seen a rapid acceleration of announcements for 4G deployments globally. At last count, there are more than120 operators worldwide who have committed to either LTE or mobile WiMAX. In addition to the mobile broadband technology adoption of 4G, there is a vast ecosystem of participants also entering this market to serve the broader network, software and application needs of operators deploying these networks. Indeed, that is exactly the theme of this year’s 4G World: Empowering Mobile Networks, Applications and Services.

The 4G World 2010 conference program runs four days, and is the largest program in the world focused on 4G. 4G World 2010 is expected to draw more than 10,000 attendees, up from about 8,000 in 2009. This year we have greatly expanded our program partner participation. 4G World 2010 includes broad industry support from across the entire ecosystem of operators, vendors, analysts/researchers, associations and media channels. In all, we expect to have more than 250 sponsors and exhibitors participating, as well as more than 150 members of the press.

This year we are pleased to announce our early line-up of business leaders who together are paving the path towards 4G. These include executives from Sprint, ATT, Clearwire, KDDI, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Ericsson, FCC, nPhase, Samsung, Motorola, Nokia Siemens, Alvarion and Huawei.

Here’s a quick summary of our very active program development partner programs that we have in store. The first day of the program (Monday, Oct 18) will feature partner summit and training programs, including:

▪ The 16th Annual WCAI International Symposium: WCAI’s program will span three days of the event, with one track running all day on Monday, and then additional 1/2 day tracks which will run on Tuesday and Wednesday. The WCAI will also host an International Operator breakfast.

▪ We are very pleased to announce that Light Reading will be hosting a special summit on Monday as well, entitled the “Backhaul Strategies and Core Convergence for Mobile Operators Summit”

▪ Continuing from last year, our training partner, Awards Solutions, will be running several training courses, including an LTE Overview course on October 18-19, an LTE Advanced Course on October 20, and an IP Backhaul Course on October 21.

▪ The Telemanagement Forum, who is the leading industry association dedicated to operations systems support (OSS) communication management issues, has also joined the event, and will host two training programs entitled “Frameworks Distilled” and “Business Process Framework Distilled”. See below for more on the

The main 4G World conference program, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday, Oct 19-21, 2010, includes key alliances with a number of industry associations and media channels.

▪ On Tuesday, the Femto Forum will be hosting a ½ day track entitled Femtocell Market Assessment

▪ On Tuesday and Wednesday, 3G Americas will be hosting the 4G Technology Track

▪ On Tuesday, the Telemanagement Forum will be hosting the 4G Operational Transformation Strategies and Tactics Track

▪ On Thursday, Forbes magazine, who will be producing a special supplement entitled “Harnessing the Mobile Internet” (named after my book published late last year), will run a special panel on the same topic. This supplement will alone reach about 1M direct subscribers of Forbes magazine, with an extended reach of almost more than 5M readers. If you are interested in learning more, please let me know.In addition, we have expanded the 4G World Expo, the largest focused expo of its type in the world, which will run Tuesday and Wednesday, with more than 140 exhibitors. The 4G World Expo will include:

▪ 4G Technology Solutions Theater

▪ China and Taiwan Pavilion▪ Special pavilions developed with other media partners to be announced shortly

▪ 4G World Innovator Awards Announcements

▪ 4G World Internet Café & Networking Hub

▪ 4G World Expo Press Tour

▪ Additional networking breakfasts and special events

This year, 4G World will use direct marketing, print brochures and expo passes, magazine advertisements, online advertising and direct emails supported by our 250+ global partner marketing programs partners, and other special marketing promotions listed below. In total, 4G World to be marketed to more than 9M business and technology professionals globally.

4G Business and Technology Magazine: We have a number of other exciting marketing plans in place, including the second annual “4G Business and Technology Magazine” which is co-published with Penton’s Connected Planet. This publication will be printed and distributed at the show, and will reach 250K qualified readers through an aggressive dedicated marketing effort between Yankee Group and Penton.

For the latest updates, see:

▪ Event Overview -
▪ Program & Partner Overview -
▪ Program At a Glance -
▪ Sponsors & Partners -
▪ Exhibitors -
▪ Executive Advisory Board -
▪ Telemanagement Forum Training:
▪ Awards Solutions Training -

For further information on the 4G World event series visit

David Keene is a publishing executive and editorial leader with extensive business development and content marketing experience for top industry players on all sides of the media divide: publishers, brands, and service providers. Keene is the former content director of Digital Signage Magazine.