Mobile operator CEOs play up harmony

Sprint, Verizon and AT&T keynote speeches ignored intense competition and legal strife

The CEOs of the three largest U.S. mobile operators largely ignored their fierce competition on Tuesday, delivering one keynote speech after another at CTIA Wireless Enterprise & Applications that emphasized the benefits of the wireless industry as a whole.

Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse opened his comparing AT&T's Ralph De La Vega to actor John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin, and de la Vega later called Hesse the best actor in the wireless industry. But there were few other signs of the legal battle over AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, which Sprint has challenged in court, nor the three-way race to provide faster mobile networks.

On Tuesday, Verizon announced its LTE (Long Term Evolution) network will reach 178 markets by Nov. 17, putting it more than one month ahead of schedule. AT&T launched its first LTE networks in five cities last month but pushes "4G speeds" on its earlier HSPA+ (High-Speed Packet Access) network. Sprint, currently using partner Clearwire for 4G WiMax service, plans to split from that company on LTE, each building their own networks.

The format of the keynote avoided the open rancor that took place at the CTIA Wireless show in March in Orlando, where the top carrier executives sat down together a day after AT&T and T-Mobile announced the deal. Hesse, de la Vega and Verizon's Dan Mead spoke in sequence, introduced by CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent.

Their speeches echoed the up-with-wireless tone of Largent's comments, in which he highlighted the results of a CTIA survey that showed wireless connections in the U.S. now exceed the population. The CEOs emphasized the economic benefits of wireless and potential of machine-to-machine applications, especially in health care.

"We are, arguably, in the most important industry in the world," said Hesse, who in addition to leading Sprint is the chairman of CTIA for 2011. In addition to the virtues of mobile in aiding in natural disasters and helping to drive the Arab Spring democracy movement, the industry benefits the U.S. economy, he said.

"Our industry can help to get our economy back on track," Hesse said. "Mobile has a direct and powerful impact on the efficiency, productivity [and] economic performance of almost any size business in this country."

As an example, he said remote monitoring of patients and home caregivers cuts health care costs by US$20 billion per year and "hidden" costs such as people keeping tabs on elderly parents by $363 billion.

De La Vega and Mead also highlighted M2M. De La Vega said there are 100 million cellular M2M connections in the world and 13 million of them were on AT&T's network in the second quarter. Those include the Amazon Kindle, for which AT&T provides connectivity, and other e-readers. But he also showed videos of systems such as the Amber Alert GPS for tracking children and a device that can be hung around an elderly person's neck to detect a fall and call for help.

Verizon's Mead also pulled out examples of mobile's good works, such as a wireless robot avatar that goes to school for a boy in Texas who can't leave his room because he has virtually no immune system.

Mead emphasized the carriers' cooperative spirit, which he said has allowed roaming and text-messaging interoperability and the entry of "the companies the designed the two most important operating systems in the world today" -- without mentioning Apple and Google by name.

"Cooperation has allowed all of us in the wireless industry to come a very long way in a very short period of time," Mead said. "Progress is going to require much more of the same."

CTIA Wireless Enterprise & Applications continues through Thursday.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags at&tctiasprint nextelmobileVerizon Wireless

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?