NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- The wireless industry will be focusing on getting consumers to spend even more time on their mobile phones at this year's CTIA Wireless trade show.
The three-day event, which starts Tuesday, will highlight the potential benefits from the increased deployment of high-speed cellular networks. Carriers and other technology companies will be showing off features such as mobile social networking and video in the hopes that they hope will take off with consumers down the line.
Mobile TV will be a major topic at this year's show. Verizon Wireless, jointly owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, rolled out its V Cast Mobile TV service to 20 cities in the Midwestern and Western markets. AT&T's Cingular Wireless will use the same technology, called MediaFlo, in its mobile TV service. Qualcomm, which developed MediaFlo, will be trumpeting the technology at the show.
Another theme will be figuring out how to push mobile advertisements without irritating consumers. "People will be talking about mobile ads," said D.P. Venkatesh, the chief executive of privately held mPortal, which provides software to carriers. "I expect 50 start-ups that have one take or another on mobile advertising."
Carriers have been desperate to get their subscribers to use services beyond just phone calls, as competitive pricing and gimmicks such as family plans and "rollover minutes" slice into voice revenue. Instead, the companies are looking to these new features for addition streams of revenue. The industry has seen success with services such as text messaging and ringtone downloads, but it hopes the availability of high-speed networks will drive consumer demand for pricier services such as video.
Equipment companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, meanwhile, will be touting the benefits of merging wireline and wireless services, which allow phones to run off of both a cellular and a wireless-fidelity, or wi-fi, network. The company will continue to push Internet protocol multimedia subsystem, or IMS, which allows for the convergence of different systems.
One trend that will likely be played down are mobile virtual network operators, or companies that resell wireless service under another brand. Two years ago, rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs proclaimed in a keynote speech that he was an MVNO, illustrating the ease in which companies can slide into the wireless service business. But that didn't turn out to be the case, as the MVNOs have struggled with winning customers.
The difficulty is best illustrated by the failure of Mobile ESPN, which had to shut down in September. Still, there have been some success, as Virgin Mobile USA continues to do well with its pre-paid model.
The luster of the show has faded a bit as many major announcements were made at the 3GSM World Congress conference in Spain last month. Another major announcement was the unveiling of the Apple iPhone at the Macworld conference in January.
There will be roughly 40,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors at the event, similar to the turnout from a year ago, according to a CTIA spokeswoman.
CTIA did manage to nab former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush to speak on the final day of the show, likely about the role the cellphone plays in global convergence.
One unusual last-minute scheduling change was Motorola Chief Executive Ed Zander's decision to pull out of the show, where he was slated to make a keynote speech on the first day. His absence fueled speculation it was close to a deal to buy Palm, but those rumors were squashed when Zander cited personal family reasons.
-By Roger Cheng, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2020; email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires "
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