- Vendor messaging and announcements in the run-up to Mobile World Congress (MWC) has begun.
- Samsung’s messaging – announcing new products and features before MWC – point to its continuing commitment to network infrastructure.
If you’re not a follower of the GSMA’s CMO – Michael O’Hara – on Twitter, you should be; his handle is @jmohara. He is the CMO of the GSMA, after all. If you do follow Michael, however, you saw his tweet from Monday morning in reference to Samsung’s invitations for a press conference at Mobile World Congress (MWC) next month. “And here we go on #mwc15 announcements.”
In just six words and one hashtag, he summed up the frustration that surrounds MWC-related vendor messaging. Announcing a major new product at the show nearly ensures that the news will get lost in the shuffle of everything else getting announced. Announcing something too early, however, risks people forgetting the news by the time MWC rolls around. Yet, with all due respect, Michael got it wrong. While we can still credit Samsung, MWC-related announcements began in earnest last week.
In the course of a week, Samsung (generally quiet on the networks front) announced three infrastructure-related launches: Cloud RAN enhancements termed C-RAN2.0; new IMS (and VoLTE) communications capabilities; and upgrades to its “Smart eMBMS” offer for LTE Broadcast services. Coming a month before MWC, with nary a mention of the show in the announcements, you could argue that these had nothing to do with the big wireless show in Barcelona. But when a vendor that’s usually quiet on the networks front puts out three press releases in short order – with MWC on the horizon – it’s hard not to see a link.
What are the takeaways?
- MWC Vendor Messaging Has Begun. We might debate how early is too early for MWC-related news, though somewhere between the noise of CES and the nose of MWC seems about as early as you’d want. Regardless, you can probably expect Samsung’s announcements to be followed by competitors who also want to get out ahead of the show’s mayhem. Understand these for what they are: invitations to come and see the innovations live at MWC or set up meetings outside the event.
- Samsung Isn’t Going Away. Unlike academic debates around announcement timing, debates around Samsung’s commitment to its network infrastructure business speak to the potential riskiness of multi-million dollar network investments; products aside, one of the biggest challenges Samsung faces in the network infrastructure business is the perception that – given R&D scale and revenues that don’t match competitors – Samsung may not remain in the business through the long-term. New network innovations, and investments, argue that it will.