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Vodafone Chief: Consolidate Operating Systems

Tue, 02/12/2008 - 8:02am
Monica Alleven

BARCELONA—In Tuesday's keynote at the Mobile World Congress, Vodafone Group Chief Executive Arun Sarin called for the industry to focus on fewer operating systems - a handful as opposed to 30 or 40 - and consider rolling WiMAX under the LTE umbrella.

"We have to narrow the range of operating systems," he said. Instead of 30 or 40, it makes more sense to have three, four or five, he said, adding that he would not advocate just one. "We have seen that movie before." The marketplace should decide which ones dominate, he said.

Regarding WiMAX, he said the industry should consider making it part of LTE to avoid dueling standards, which the industry went through with TDMA, CDMA and GSM, and that only led to unproductive debates. What matters most is not the technology, but services, he said.

The industry also knows a great deal about its customers and should think about using that information in relevant ways without giving up privacy protections. He cautioned the industry against becoming dumb pipes. The industry is at an important crossroads, he said, where operators have to invest to bring new mobile Internet services to life. The industry cannot "sit back and become bit pipes," he said. 

Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo discussed Nokia´s efforts at going green and showed off a remade prototype phone made from recycled materials. The phone cannot make phone calls; it is only at the concept stage, but it demonstrates what can be done. Nokia already has projects under way to minimize packaging and create phones from recycled, not refurbished, parts.

China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou also discussed what the operator is doing as part of efforts to address global warming, including energy conservation and emission reduction.

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