Were you at Mobile World Congress this year? With this year’s show now done and dusted, here are some of the key highlights of the show…enjoy!

Mobile World Congress 2010

Mobile World Congress 2010 highlights

Eyebrow raised:

Vittorio Colao had a moan about Google’s search dominance. Vodafone, of course, entered into the first ever global carrier deal with Google three years ago, giving the internet giant its first proper foothold in mobile search………

Colao also reiterated his concept of giving data priority to business users of the mobile network, based on them paying a premium for network access. This seems to be a supremely by-passable method for generating network revenues, and reminds one of the bad old days when state-owned telephony providers charged more for calls made in the morning to penalize business users.

Note to Vittorio – more business travelers now use Southwest Airlines, Jet Blue, Easyjet (even Ryan Air) etc. than “national” carriers, because it’s cheaper (despite the appalling prospect of going to Luton, …..).

Idea for Vittorio – open-up payment for services and content delivered over the network and charged to the Vodafone bill. Any service that generates a payment to the phone bill should be given network priority, because it makes you money and your customer is willing to pay for it. Make connection costs as low as possible to encourage widespread, unfettered usage. Payment is aligned to what the customer values, rather than the method of connection which they don’t want to pay much for. Remember, Vittorio, most phones users have worked out how to connect with WiFi (see WiFi) so you’re actually in danger of seeing data revenues decline if you start taxing business users or slowing down the network performance for “leisure” users.

Ghosts of the Fira:

The spectre of the iPhone hovered over the Fira stimulating widespread comment even though Apple couldn’t actually be seen (correction: about 40,000 Apple iPhones sat on table tops next to the industry’s well-healed executive class, who nonetheless spent most of the time on their BlackBerrys). The sense already, however, is that Apple’s contribution to the mobile phone market is “done”, and mass market phones with natty user interfaces and the ability to run apps is now in the hands of the open mobile platforms.

The ghost of Nokia was less apparent and less widely discussed. I wonder what they’re up to these days……(note to Nokia marketing: say something, please).

Best bit:

Hall 7 where the start-up community of app developers gathered. Good to see the ideas, aspirations and excitement in this part of the industry. Application developers were, of course, the force that drove Microsoft to dominate the desktop computing market (is this now taught in school during History class…?). It was great to see this part of the industry flourishing independently of the manoeuvring of the big players that seem to capture most of the media attention. Here’s the creativity of our industry, which, to badly paraphrase celebrated 20th century British/American poet W.H. Auden, “survives in a valley of its making, where executives would never want to tamper….” (“In Memory of WB Yeats”).