OpenSignal Blog

1.1 billion and counting: Asia spurs a growth spurt in LTE connections

There are 1.1 billion LTE subscribers in the world, but the majority of those 4G users are concentrated in one region: Asia. Wireless industry group the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) released new data today showing where LTE has its biggest impact, and while North America and Europe definitely have their fair share of 4G subscribers, 54.3% of all 4G connections in the fourth quarter belonged to the Asia-Pacific region.

GSA LTE subscribers

Chart courtesy of the GSA. Data Source: GSA, Ovum

Asia is by far the world’s most populated continent, so Asia is exactly where you would expect more and more of the world’s 4G user base to gravitate. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Japan, South Korea and Australia were among LTE’s earliest adopters, giving Asia an early lead when it comes to 4G penetration. Those countries, however, can’t fully account for the more than 580 million 4G subscriptions in the region. What we’re seeing is the huge population centers of China, India and Southeast Asia bring their 4G might to bear. According to the GSA, China accounted for 386 million LTE connections in December – more than one third of the worldwide total.

North America accounted for 22.2% of LTE subscribers, thanks mainly to the high volume of U.S. 4G users, while Europe laid claim to 14.8% of the global total. Latin America, the Middle East and Africa split the remaining 8.7%. It’s also interesting to note that this new spate of LTE growth wasn’t a gradual buildup. Rather it was an explosion over the last year. The GSA report found that half of the world’s 1.1 billion LTE subscribers came online in 2015.

Posted in LTE | Tagged | Leave a comment

Can T-Mobile become the operator of rural America?

When OpenSignal released its State of Mobile Networks report for the U.S. last month, we noted T-Mobile’s big uptick in LTE coverage — the result of new network investment using new low-band spectrum. Simply put, T-Mobile customers found that they could connect to data signals in more places, whether in the recesses of buildings or out in the countryside where T-Mobile has traditionally offered little service.

Now it looks like T-Mobile is capitalizing on that newly amped-up coverage, particularly in places outside of its core urban footprint. As reported by FierceWireless, T-Mobile is opening up new stores and expanding online retail sales to an additional 30 million to 40 million people in the U.S. Speaking at a Morgan Stanley investor conference, T-Mobile US CFO Braxton Carter said T-Mobile will make its retail presence felt in Utah, New Mexico and areas of southeastern U.S. where its previously had “zero penetration.” That could mean as many as 400 new stores selling T-Mobile phones and service in the next 18 months, a 10% increase over its current retail store base.

This could open up many new markets to T-Mobile giving it access to potentially millions of new customers. Many of those customers, however, are already served by Verizon, AT&T and regional providers that have long prided themselves on bringing their networks to the U.S. hinterland. According to our fourth quarter data, Verizon is still by far the leader in national 4G coverage, providing an LTE signal to its customer 87% of the time. T-Mobile was closing the gap, though, and its 81% coverage was less than 2 percentage points away from matching AT&T in our report.

T-Mobile’s improving coverage and new stores definitely give it more tools to target these rural and small town customers, but there is a caveat. T-Mobile needs to build those networks well. Just throwing up towers along the interstate highways won’t cut it if T-Mobile truly wants to bring these new rural customers into the fold.

Instead of tracking geographic coverage, OpenSignal’s time coverage metric measures overall network availability. It calculates the percentage of time OpenSignal users can see a signal from a particular network, whether they’re indoors or out, whether they’re standing still on a busy street or driving through country back roads, and whether the network is crowded or relatively uncongested. Time coverage reflects the typical experience an operator’s customers see on a its network. Our data definitely takes rural coverage into account as customers roam about the country, but if an operator’s customers don’t live or work in rural areas they aren’t going to be spending much time trying to connect rural networks.

By expanding its sales presence into these previously uncovered territories, T-Mobile is taking a bit of a risk. These new small town customers will expect the same kind of network availability and reliability their big city counterparts see, and if its networks aren’t up to the task, T-Mobile’s rapidly improving time coverage might actually start suffering.

When we publish our next U.S. report in five months, we’ll have a much better idea of how much progress T-Mobile has made toward becoming the operator for all Americans. And if you happen to be a new T-Mobile subscriber in Utah, New Mexico or Southeast, we’d love for you to download OpenSignal’s smartphone app (available on Android and iOS) to help us track that progress.

Posted in Comparing Coverage, LTE | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

How European countries compare in 4G performance

It’s the third day of Mobile World Congress, so it’s time to present the third set of data we’ve prepared for the event. On Tuesday we ranked Europe’s big cities in overall LTE speeds. Today we’re taking a similar look at Europe on the country level.

We broke out 4G coverage and speed numbers from our recently published State of LTE report to see how 25 countries in Europe compared. First, let’s take a look at coverage:

CoverageGraphEurope

The Netherlands was the obvious star here with 4G subscribers seeing an LTE signal 84% of the time. In fact, most of northern Europe did quite well, which makes sense given the first LTE networks were born in Scandinavia. Eastern Europe had some standouts as well. Outside of those regions, however, LTE coverage starts falling off particularly in Western Europe, where coverage hovers just above 50% in several of the EU’s biggest economies.

SpeedGraphEurope (1)

When we rank these 25 countries by speed, we get a different picture. Eastern European countries Hungary and Romania are among the fastest 4G markets in the world, though both the Netherlands and Denmark impress as well. In our look at Europe’s fastest 4G cities, the Netherlands had three cities ranked in the top 5, implying its operators are doing quite well in supplying urban capacity.

While countries like Spain, France and Greece may not have a lot of 4G coverage, they performed quite well in speed, delivering download averages of 18 Mbps or more. In fact, nearly all European countries exceeded the global LTE download average of 13.5 Mbps.

If you’re in Barcelona for MWC, come visit OpenSignal at our booth, located in Hall 7, stand B15.

Posted in LTE, Mobile World Congress | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ranking European 4G cities by speed

Mobile World Congress is now in full swing, and we’ve already seen plenty of interesting news from Barcelona. Samsung unveiled its newest flagship phones, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. LG managed to one-up Samsung with the G5, a modular phone with snap-on components that can turn the device into a more powerful camera or a higher fidelity music player. Verizon revealed it has begun 5G network trials.

OpenSignal doesn’t have a new smartphone to debut or network to tout at MWC, but we do have plenty of data to share. Given the big European presence of MWC, OpenSignal decided to dig into our test data to see how some of the largest cities in Europe stacked up in 4G speeds. The following chart shows the average LTE download speeds in 40 of the EU’s major metro areas, drawn from data collected by OpenSignal users in the fourth quarter.

SpeedCitiesEU (1)

As you can see, the cities in the Netherlands have some of the most impressive speeds but there are also some top performers in Eastern European capitals, notably Bucharest, Budapest and Riga. And for those of you attending MWC, Barcelona ranked in the middle of our 40 cities, though with an average LTE connection of 19.8 Mbps, it was by no means slow.
Check out the blog later this week. We’ll post more data on how Europe’s 4G networks during the show. If you happen to be in Barcelona for MWC, come visit at Hall 7, stand B15.

Posted in LTE, Mobile World Congress, Reports | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Sensing Samsung: The evolution of sensors in the Galaxy S series

On Sunday at Mobile World Congress, Samsung is expected to unveil its latest flagship smartphone. There are a lot of speculation and rumors swirling about the hardware and features in the new Galaxy S7, and our CTO James Robinson has even contributed his own ideas on what kind of processors we might see in the S7 based on our crowdsourced data. One thing we’re most excited to see at Samsung’s Unpacked event in Barcelona is the new smartphone’s sensor package.

OpenSignal may be most known for using the radios in smartphones to measure network connections, but our ultimate goal is to use all the sensors in the phone (with permission, of course) as a means to quantify the world around us (One such project is our meteorological crowdsourcing app WeatherSignal). That’s why the Galaxy S line is so compelling to our data scientists. Samsung has always used its flagship smartphone to showcase what a device can do when it interacts with its surroundings.

Ahead of Unpacked this Sunday, we decided to create a chart detailing the history of sensors in the Galaxy line, starting with the release of the Galaxy S in 2010 to the current generation (for a few months at least) Galaxy S6.

SamsungSensorEvolution(blog)

You’ll notice that several of sensors here aren’t listed in Samsung’s official specs. They are there nonetheless – we’re able to detect them with our OpenSignal apps. Some of them are virtual sensors, which take the readings from two or more hardware-based sensors to generate new data. The pedometer is a good example. It analyzes the rhythmic changes sensed by the accelerometer and gyroscope to determine whether you’re taking a step. The Galaxy line tends to be loaded with virtual sensors, and for brevity’s sake we left out some of the most common ones, for instance the orientation and gravitational virtual sensors that detect the relative positon of the phone.

We also included several hardware features that you might not think of as sensors, such as the microphone and camera and the phone’s radio stack. Samsung and other phone makers have been pretty creative over the years in using existing hardware components as sensors. A passive microphone for instance can be used for voice triggers, and the front-facing camera for facial recognition. As for the radios, OpenSignal uses them to collect data on network quality and performance, but they can also be used to directly interact with the local environment. Bluetooth and NFC, for instance, are used as proximity sensors in beacon and payment applications. To see detailed descriptions of all the different types of sensors in smartphones, check out OpenSignal’s Sensor Database.

Now let’s take a look at how the sensor package of Galaxy line has evolved over the years. You can see that Samsung likes to try a lot of new types of sensors and it isn’t afraid to experiment. The original Galaxy S wasn’t exactly a sensor powerhouse, but Samsung gradually added more hardware as the generations progressed. That evolution hit a high point with the S4, which included a host of environmental sensors for measuring external temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. The S4 was essentially a mobile weather station, and many S4 users used our WeatherSignal app to collect loads of useful meteorological data around the world.

Unfortunately Samsung dropped the thermometer and humidity sensor in the S6, but it didn’t drop its commitment to sensors. Rather Samsung shifted its focus away from environmental to personal data gathering. The new sensors emerging in the S5 and S6 were geared toward quantified self (pedometer), health monitoring (heart rate and oxygen saturation sensors), and biometric security (fingerprint scanner).

So what new sensors we expect from the new S7? There are rumors that it may include a retinal scanner, which would fit in with Samsung’s biometric focus, as well as a pressure-sensitive touchscreen. In our data, we’re seeing several new Samsung phones we suspect to be test versions of the different variants of the S7 in the field. We’re unable to detect any new sensors in that data just yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. If Samsung plans to launch a completely new sensor in this generation of Galaxy that currently doesn’t have an Android API, we wouldn’t immediately detect it on our data. That makes us just as curious as everyone else to see what exactly Samsung unveils at Unpacked this Sunday.

OpenSignal is at Mobile World Congress 2016 too: Visit us in Hall 7 at booth number B17 or at the Qualcomm booth in Hall 3.

Posted in Mobile World Congress, OpenSignal app, Quantified Self, Sensors, WeatherSignal | Leave a comment

Brazil updates its 4G networks for the Olympics

Brazil’s 4G networks soon will get their second trial by fire in two years. Just as the country recovers from the global spectacle of the FIFA World Cup in 2014, Rio de Janeiro is playing host to 2016 Olympics this summer. That kind of event brings in hundreds of thousands of spectators, athletes, organizers and media – all itching to stream, surf and post to social media on their mobile devices.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Brian Godfrey

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Brian Godfrey

The good news is that Brazil, and particularly host city Rio, seems better prepared to tackle that onslaught of 4G data traffic. In our State of Mobile Networks: Brazil report, released today, we found that both Brazil and Rio’s LTE coverage has increased since we last looked at the country’s 4G performance six months ago. Speeds have slowed down a bit, but that’s to be expected as the 4G market matures, and several Brazilian operators are still delivering quite a bit of punch through their LTE connections, particularly in Rio.

In the three months between Oct. 15 and Jan. 15, OpenSignal measured the fastest download speeds on Vivo networks, with an LTE average of 15.3 Mbps and a 3G average of 2.4 Mbps. Vivo was even faster in Rio. In the same three-month period, we measured Vivo’s 4G download average at 17.2 Mbps in the Olympic host city, but Vivo had competition. Our tests clocked Oi’s LTE network average at 16.8 Mbps in Rio, putting it in a statistical tie with Vivo. No nationwide 4G operator, however, was by any means slow. From October to January, all four delivered average LTE speeds greater than 10 Mbps.

Coverage was a different story though. Brazilian operators barely offered more than 50% 4G time coverage nationally in the timeframe of our report. That means that on average, 4G subscribers spent roughly half their time outside of the range of an LTE signal (for details on how we calculate time coverage see our methodology section). In Rio, though, coverage was far better. Vivo and Claro had 71% and 61% time coverage respectively, according to our most recent data. Though Nextel doesn’t have a nationwide LTE network, it does have a 4G service in Rio. That network delivered some impressive 4G time coverage numbers – we measured it at 75% – but its LTE download speeds were far more limited, averaging just 2.6 Mbps.

Brazilian operators still have six months to tweak their networks before the Olympic rush comes. While we’re unlikely to see speeds go up as we get closer to the opening ceremony, there’s a good chance we could see coverage and network availability improve even more – especially in Rio.

Posted in LTE, Reports | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Galaxy S7: both Qualcomm and Samsung chips seen by OpenSignal

The Galaxy S range has always embraced multiple variants – the S6 for example comes with about a dozen different internal configurations (the cell radios and sensors they used). Some of this is unavoidable, CDMA networks aren’t going to work with a GSM radio.

However, both the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge, in all their glorious (and externally indistinguishable) variations, shared a single processor: Samsung’s own Exynos 7420. There have been some indications that this would change with the Galaxy S7 using a mix of Qualcomm and Samsung chips.

We believe we’ve seen nine S7’s appear in our data. And they are indeed using two different chipsets: the Samsung Exynos 8890 on a Universal 8890 board and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 on a MSM 8996 board. These nine devices form two quite distinct camps, having internal differences that go beyond the CPU.

How we got the data

Every time a user downloads OpenSignal we take a single reading of the device specification. It’s what we use to create our annual Fragmentation Report. As part of this reading the Linux cpuinfo file on Android, which contains data on the number of cores and the speeds of these cores.

Recently, 8 new devices have appeared in our data, corresponding to 9 distinct users (from Taiwan, Brazil, US and Mexico). The devices are

  • SM-G930F
  • SM-G930P
  • SM-G930R4
  • SM-G930V
  • SM-G935F
  • SM-G935T
  • SM-G935V

Based on the naming of these devices which seems to follow Samsung’s Galaxy S6 convention, and other fields in our dataset (like manufacturer codes, screen size), we’re highly confident that these are all Galaxy S7s.

What we don’t know is if these are the Galaxy S7s that will be available to the public, these could be test devices featuring experimental configurations. Everything below should be read with this in mind.

A mystery around core numbers

When Samsung chose to name their latest chip the Exynos 8 Octa 8890, they weren’t taking any chances in communicating the multiplicity of its cores: there’s little doubt that this has 8 of them. In our data, and this could be a limitation of our current method, we’re only seeing 6 (while we did see 8 on the Exynos 7420).

As mentioned above, we get this data by extracting values from the cpuinfo file. For Exynos this looks like:

cpuinfo

Processor       : AArch64 Processor rev 2 (aarch64)
processor       : 0
processor       : 1
processor       : 2
processor       : 3
processor       : 4
processor       : 5
processor       : 6
processor       : 7
Features         : fp asimd aes pmull sha1 sha2 crc32
CPU implementer: 0x41
CPU architecture: AArch64
CPU variant   : 0x0
CPU part        : 0xd03
CPU revision  : 2

(thanks to Jasmin for lending me her phone to check this)

We count the lines that start with “processor” — yes, it has to be lower case and we get 8. This works pretty reliably. However, this method is only giving 6 cores on the Galaxy S7. Since we don’t extract the cpuinfo file, only the values within it, we don’t know the structure of the cpuinfo for the S7, and it’s likely our method is missing something. But it’s interesting all the same — something has changed here.

A mystery around CPU implementers

You can see in the above file the CPU implementer code, for Exynos 7420 it’s 0x41 or ASCII for “A”, and represents ARM.

For the Qualcomm CPU in the S7, we’re seeing 0x51 or “Q.” No prizes for guessing that this stands for Qualcomm. This CPU Implementer code isn’t new. After ARM it’s the most common one we see.

What is new is “0x53.” This is a code we’ve never seen before. Standing for “S,” it presumably represents Samsung. We don’t know if this code has anything beyond symbolic significance, perhaps it’s just Samsung planting their flag, but it’s certainly something for chip-geeks like us to ponder on long wintry evenings.

The Samsung vs Qualcomm chip families

These are the devices rocking a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820:

  • SM-G930P
  • SM-G930R4
  • SM-G930V
  • SM-G935T
  • SM-G935V

And these are the devices with the Exynos 8890:

  • SM-G930F
  • SM-G935F

We’re seeing these two families of phones having quite different hardware profiles. For example, while they have the same set of sensors, they’re using different models. The vendor of the magnetic sensor to the phones with the Samsung CPU is Yamaha, whereas for the Qualcomm CPU, it’s AKM. The proximity sensor is sold by AMS in both cases, but we’re seeing two variants (TMD490X ALS_PRX and TMD4903).

GSM vs CDMA

We’ve seen instances of the Qualcomm chips in both GSM and CDMA phones.

For example the SM-G935T, which we believe may be the T-Mobile branded Galaxy S7, has a Qualcomm chip, but so does the SM-G935V, which appears to be the Verizon branded variant and uses CDMA.

So far we’ve only seen the Samsung chips on GSM devices. This could just be coincidence given the small sample size, however we have seen in the past Samsung shipping Exynos outside of the US markets and then using Qualcomm for CDMA devices, so this fits.

What does this mean for developers and consumers?

As noted, we can’t be sure that what we’re seeing here will be reflected in the Galaxy S7s that go on general sale. Presuming they do, we will see even greater diversity within Samsung’s Galaxy S7 range, the differences should be nigh on invisible to users – but there’s no guarantee of that. We’ll also see Samsung continuing in its ambitions to become a major player in building SOCs.

We’ll only know for sure when these phones hit the market, and we welcome tens of thousands of S7 users to OpenSignal to crowdsource cellular coverage and speeds.

Posted in Crowdsourcing, Mobile Trends, Other, Sensors | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An early look at India’s first nationwide 4G operator, Jio

OpenSignal data analyst Joe Cainey caught sight of a ghost earlier this month when looking at our India network data. Defunct Mumbai operator Loop Mobile suddenly rematerialized in our network tests, showing LTE connections not just in Mumbai but in cities all over India. Digging a little deeper, Joe found Loop hadn’t actually risen from the dead. Instead we discovered the network belonged to India’s newest 4G operator Reliance Jio, which appears to be using Loop Mobile as a network ID while it prepares its new LTE service for launch later this year.

Jio's LTE network in Mumbai rears its head

Jio’s LTE network in Mumbai rears its head

Jio has been gearing up to launch a highly anticipated pan-Indian LTE service, and though its official launch was postponed from December to the first quarter, it’s still been quite active in recent months. Jio has begun marketing its own LYF brand of smartphones and begun offering those phones to its employees to put its networks through their paces. It turns out many of those internal testers have downloaded the OpenSignal app so we’re starting to see those measurements show up in our data.

In those tests the Jio network is delivering some impressive speeds, averaging 17.34 Mbps on the downlink and 3.34 Mbps on the uplink. But take those numbers with a grain of salt. Jio’s network isn’t commercially launched so there aren’t many devices competing for its capacity. Of the 141 Jio users we have contributing to our database, they all seem to be sticking close to Jio’s coverage footprint. In our 2,500 or so tests, Jio devices were able to connect to the LTE network 93% of time. As Jio launches commercially that number is sure to drop considerably.

We may not have many measurements on Jio’s network, but those tests are widely dispersed across India, confirming just how big the operator’s ambitions are. Unlike Jio’s established competitors, Jio has a nationwide license, and a nationwide network is exactly what it appears to be building.  We detected Jio LTE signals in most of India’s major cities and state capitals, including Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Indore, Chandigarh and Jaipur. We also saw LTE in a lot of much smaller cities, including a surprising number of tests conducted throughout the eastern state of Jharkhand. You can see for yourself where we’ve detected Jio’s networks on the interactive coverage maps on OpenSignal’s website.

Jharkhand Screenshot

The green dots represents network measurements taken by OpenSignal users, and there are a surprising number of distributed throughout Jharkhand.

Of course, these are only the places we’ve mapped through a very limited number of tests. Jio’s network is likely present in many more cities we still haven’t detected yet. When Jio officially launches we hope to get plenty more readings as Indian consumers download the OpenSignal app onto their new Jio phones. In fact, we invite everyone in India with an Android device or iPhone to join our crowdsourced community to help us paint a more detailed picture of India’s cellular and Wifi networks.

Posted in LTE, OpenSignal app, OpenSignalMaps Website | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

MWC 2016 Fiesta! Networking and Events

Going to MWC 2016? We’ll see you there! Come by our booth in the UKTI Innovation Pavilion, or meet us at one of the MWC parties and events we’ll all be attending!

Speaking of parties – what/where/when/who? Here is OpenSignal’s resourceful map and calendar – version 2016 – of the parties in Barcelona during MWC. Enjoy!

For the map: Number in marker indicates day of event (e.g. 1 = 21 February 2016); Green – Free; Blue – Pay to Attend; Red – Invite Only; Multiple-day events are indicated by a mobile phone marker. Events where location is TBC or unknown are placed at Fira Gran Via.
Click here to see the map in your browser.

Now, the calendar view:

Multiple-Day Events

Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival
“Founded by mobile media industry veteran, Helen Keegan, Heroes of Mobile is about knowledge and networking events and other initiatives to help people get their heads round what to do when it comes to mobile. Whether it’s the whole of your job, part of your job or you just have an interest in the sector, there’ll be something for you here.”
Where: Multiple venues

4YFN
“4YFN is the place to become inspired, to learn, to get advice, to participate, to show and to share your ideas with the world’s most prominent mobile influencers of our time. The gathering of entrepreneurs, investors and mobile innovation enthusiasts during the GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona, the world’s largest mobile industry exhibition.”
Time: 22 February – 25 February 2016
Where: Fira Montjuic Barcelona, Av. Reina Maria Cristina, s/n, Barcelona 08004

GSMA Global Mobile Awards
“With a brand new name, “The Glomo Awards” for 2016, the mobile industry’s longest established awards platform recognises everything from game changing mobile devices to applications, technologies, apps and services, showcasing the ever growing value that mobility brings to users, to industries, to businesses, communities and economies.”
Time: 22 February – 25 February
Where: Hall 4, Fira Gran Via; Innovation City, Hall 3; GSMA Members Lounge, Hall 3

Sunday, 21 February 2016

ShowStoppers
“ShowStoppers @ MWC is an invitation-only special event that enables journalists to discover some of the most creative technologists on the planet. Companies that choose to exhibit at ShowStoppers @ MWC gain powerful opportunities to shake hands with hundreds of journalists, to launch new products and score coverage.”
Time: 15:00 – 18:00
Where: University Barcelona – Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585, Barcelona 08007 Registration: Invite-only

Mobile Sunday 2016 with Tech.eu
“Rudy De Waele and Tech.eu invite you to come and listen to some startup pitches, inspiring talks and insightful panel discussions, taste some local Estrella Damm beers and enjoy some of the best networking during #MWC16 and #4YFN.”
Time:18:00-22:00
Where:Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm – Carrer del Rosselló, 515, Barcelona 08025
Registration: €31.62–€72.45

Monday, 22 February 2016

11th Annual Ladies Lunch Barcelona
“Yes, it’s that time of year again when we all descend on Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. And this lunch, which forms part of the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival, is a chance for us ladies to get together for an hour or so over a relaxed lunch and chew the fat with our peers.”
Time: TBC
Where: TBC
Registration: €30.00

MEF Connects
“MEF Connects MWC 2016 will once again bring together over 800 global members and guests representing the diversity of the mobile ecosystem from 30+ countries for a fantastic evening of innovation, entertainment and networking.”
Time: 20:00-01:00
Where: Las Arenas, Plaza de Espana, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 373-385 Barcelona, 08015
Registration: Member and Invite-only event. A limited number of paid for tickets will be released to non-members. Sign up with the form to be notified when tickets are released.

Hot Topics Mobile Party
“360 Leaders, the global Technology headhunter and the founder of Hot Topics, invites you to join its 6th annual gathering of investors, entrepreneurs and influencers at this year’s MWC in Barcelona.”
Time: 19:00-22:00
Where: TBC
Registration: Invite-only

Mobile Premier Awards
“The MPAs 10th edition will feature 16 of the most innovative Apps from all over the world pitching live on stage. The lucky 16 finalists have been selected among winners of Intel-powered Appcircus events in over twenty cities and the Smart City App Hack challenge.”
Time: 17:30-22:30
Where: Sala Apolo – Carrer Nou de la Rambla 113, 08004 Barcelona
Registration: €10.00

IoT Stars
“IoT Stars is a startup pitching event for Internet of Things startups during the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. 12 startups will be pitching in front of a top-notch jury at the amazing Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona on Monday, February 22, 2016. It’s a unique opportunity to meet and network with C-level industry leaders, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, investors, press & media working in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.”
Time: 18:00-21:30
Where:Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm – Carrer del Rosselló, 515, Barcelona 08025
Registration: €35.00

LBS & Connected Car Meetup
“This is an informal networking event between business professionals involved in location-based services, geo-location technologies, telematics and connected cars. Please wear your MWC badge to facilitate the networking. And do not forget a large stack of business cards!”
Time: 18:00-20:00
Where: Hotel Fira Congress, Carrer de José Agustín Goytisolo, 9-11. Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona 08908
Registration: Free

APIs and Smart Cities in a Mobile World
‘Discussion topics include IoT, mobile, APIs, API management, and payments. We will also take a look ahead at the emergence of the Internet of APIs. Speakers include technology and industry experts representing both business and developer points of views. This event is sponsored and organised by 3scale, Built.io, Stripe, and Twitter.Before the meetup, there will also be two workshops on the same day: Practical 3scale API Management Crash Course and Built.io Crashcourse: How to Connect Your City to the Cloud’
Time: 19:30 –
Where: 3scale Office – Calle Napoles. 187 (7th floor), Barcelona
Registration: Free

Dutch Mobile Community 2016
“Wouldn’t it be nice to relax with drinks and food after a long day at the Mobile World Congress? Join our legendary Dutch Mobile Community event at the renowned lounge club Shôko in Barcelona on Monday 22nd February at 8.00 pm. At our relaxed and informal event you can connect with Dutch and international business men or women and discuss the inspiring day you had at MWC 2016.”
Time: 20:30-23:30
Where: Shôko Club, Passeig Maritim, 36 Barcelona, 08003
Registration: Free

Xura Party
“While our official launch was back in September, we want to celebrate the occasion in style…and what better time or place than in Barcelona! Join us for an evening away from the Fira on Monday 22nd February, as we kick back and enjoy the first night of MWC at a beautiful spot – Bestial Beach Club – at Port Olimpico, right on the beach! Your VIP ticket includes drinks and snacks throughout the evening, but come early before the free stuff runs out! What better incentive is there?!”
Time: 19:00-23:00
Where: Bestial – 2 Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, Barcelona, 08008
Registration: Free

Smadex MWC party
“We will be hosting a drinks and canapés party on the first night of MWC 2016 from 7pm. After a busy first day, come and join us and relax over a few drinks and nibbles before going off to your next party of the evening.”
Time: 19:00-23:00
Where: Glaciar Bar, Plaça Reial, 3, 08002 Barcelona
Registration: Free

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Breakfast with Total Telecom Mobile TV
“Join Total Telecom & Netgem for breakfast as we discuss #TelcoTV in Barcelona. Consumers behaviours are changing and changing fast: more than 53% of all online video is now watched on mobile devices. Over the past 3 years we have seen mobile video views jump from just 6.3% of all views in 2012, to 45.1% in Q3 2015. In the 18-34 age range we are seeing even greater usage on personal devices.”
Time: 08:30-11:00
Where: Hilton Barcelona – Avenida Diagonal 589-591 Barcelona 08014
Registration: Free

DrinkEntrepreneurs MWC edition
“Join 200+ entrepreneurs for a special MWC/4YFN edition of local DrinkEntrepreneurs meetup. Perfect place to start the night and meet with fellow entrepreneurs and startupers. We will gather at Blacklab, local brewery, on the port, with more than 15 locally brewed beers. Drinks, light buffet and music, perfect to mingle and relax from the day :)”
Time: 19:00-
Where: BlackLab Brewhouse & Kitchen – Plaça Pau Vila 1-5 Barcelona 08039
Registration: Free

Women In Mobile
“There are amazing women all around the world founding mobile startups and leading the app industry. This event is the perfect opportunity to learn from some of these leaders and listen to their mobile success stories. Our speaker lineup is 100% female but our male colleagues are more than welcome to attend and contribute. This year we will talk about App Retention with Runtastic, Happn, King and others to find out the best techniques to bring users back to your App.”
Time: 19:30-23:30
Where: Espai Francesca Bonnemaison – Sant Pere Més Baix, 7 Barcelona 08003
Registration: Free

Mobile Apps Party
“Join us for a celebration of all things apps! The Application Developers Alliance, AppLift, Amazon, Ericsson, Intel, Meme Global, and Chocolate invite you to join us for the second annual Mobile Apps Party during Mobile World Congress 2016. The Mobile Apps Party will be an all-out celebration of all things apps, welcoming mobile industry leaders for a night of drinks, food, and networking in Barcelona at the W Hotel.”
Time: 20:00-01:00
Where: W Hotel, Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents, 1, 08039, Barcelona
Registration: €25.00

WE ♥ MOBILE
“Be part of the second WE ♥ MOBILE party presented by LOVOO and adjust. During the MWC16 we’ll have a unforgettable night in the centre of Barcelona. LOVOO – The Social Discovery Network where millions of users get to know new people in their immediate vicinity. The Live Radar at the heart of the app allows members to find and chat with people around them. The intuitive and fun social features provide app users with the ultimate flirting experience.”
Time: 21:00 – Late
Where: Shôko Club, Passeig Maritim, 36 Barcelona, 08003
Registration: Request invitation code on website

Mobile Marketing Mixer
“Where will the high-fliers of mobile marketing be networking at this year??s Mobile World Congress? Look no further than Masterclassing and Mobile Marketing Magazine’s Mobile Marketing Mixer, which will be held at the spectacular Cervecería Moritz, a unique venue transformed from the old Moritz beer factory located just down the road from Plaça Universitat. We will be getting together on Tuesday, 23rd February at 8pm onwards. An open bar, canapés, entertainment and great music will be sure to make the night one to remember.”
Time: 20:00-00:00
Where: Cervecería Moritz, Ronda de Sant Antoni, 41, 08011
Registration: Free (sold out) or  €65.00

Connections are Everything: CartoDBash at MWC2016
“CartoDB along with Nutiteq and Mapzen will be taking the Mobile World Congress by storm on Tuesday the 23rd of February from 7:30PM until…well, we’ll see! Join us for this special event filled with surprise guests and a special announcements that will shape the future of location intelligence.”
Time: 19:30-22:30
Where: C3bar, Carrer de Montalegre, 5 Barcelona, Spain
Registration: Free

500 Startups @ MWC 2016 Founders Happy Hour
“Come meet the 500 Startups team, other Silicon Valley investors and founders at a relaxed environment. Who’s behind 500? You’ll find out. In return, we’ll want to meet you, learn more about what you’re working on, and help you out. We’ll [also] be bringing together other great founders from your area, so this will be the perfect time to network and buddy up.”
Time: 18:00 – 21:00
Where: Barceló Raval B-Lounge – Rambla del Raval, 17-21, 08001 Barcelona
Registration: Free

BIG-small Startup Event
“The BIG – Small Start-up Event in Barcelona is a unique match-making event connecting start-ups with investors and companies that are successful in the app economy industry in the Netherlands, Europe and globally.”
Time: 18:00-21:30
Where: MediaTIC Building, Roc Boronat, 117, 08018, Barcelona
Registration: Sold out (but email for possible extra tickets)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Swedish Beers
“This is a relaxed evening for execs working in and around the mobile industry. You’ll find no formalities, no presentations, no speeches. Just come with an open mind, be prepared to see friends old and new, chat, enjoy a drink or three (courtesy of our sponsors) and have yourself a good time.”
Time: 18:30-
Where: TBC
Registration: Free

OpenAxel/Telefonica OpenFuture
“Mark your calendar for this OpenAxel event, where we are celebrating the winners of the OpenAxel competition and presenting the Top 10 hottest European startup hubs you need to know all about.”
Time: 13:00-17:00
Where: OpenAxel/Telefonica OpenFuture booth @ 4YFN conference, Fira Montjuic Barcelona
Registration: Free

NPAW Drinks
‘Visit us at Hall Congress Square Stand CS50 at Mobile World Congress and ask for your pass to our Cocktail Party at the Lulu Bistro & Bar, on Thursday February 24th. It opens from 7:30pm and you can enjoy delicious cocktails while you chat to NPAW’s team members and fellow online video innovators.’
Time: 19:30-
Where: Lulu Bistro & Bar – Av. del Marquès de l’Argentera 7 Barcelona 08003
Registration: To access the party you need a bracelet that will be given out at the NPAW booth during MWC

4YFN Closing Party 2016
“It’s time to say “Adiéu!” in style and prepare for what is about to come! At the 4YFN Closing Party, why not use the last opportunity to close a deal with a drink in hand?”
Time: 20:00 onwards
Where: Sala Apolo – Carrer Nou de la Rambla 113, 08004 Barcelona
Registration: €12 – €15

Thursday, 25 February 2016

MLOVE MWC AfterParty 2016
“Join us and 400+ passionate mobilistas in Barcelona for our traditional Afterparty during 4YFN & Mobile World Congress! Before you book your return flight this year, make sure to stay the last night for the coolest party during MWC week (so we have been told ;-)”
Time: 19:00-
Where: Boo Restaurant & Beach Club Barcelona C/ Playa Nova de Mar Bella, s/n – 08005 Barcelona
Registration: €22.17 – €32.67

Have we missed anything? Would you like to see other things on the map as well? Coverage, maybe? Stay tuned for our next blog post on getting connected in Barcelona – with the best wifi hotspots in Barcelona, courtesy of our newest app WifiMapper.

See you at MWC!

Posted in Mobile World Congress | Leave a comment

AT&T will trial 5G this year, pitting it against Google fiber

AT&T plans to get its feet wet in the still murky 5G pond this year, joining arch-competitor Verizon and operators around the world in conducting early trials of the technology. AT&T announced its 5G roadmap on Thursday, detailing plans to test out ultra-high-speed networks in the millimeter wavelengths this year in both the lab and in the wild. The first city on its list will be Texas state capital Austin, conveniently located down the expressway from AT&T’s corporate HQ in Dallas.

AT&T, however, appears to be taking a much more conservative stance on 5G unlike its competitor Verizon. Instead of promising an overnight revolution in mobile data, AT&T says its initial 5G focus will be on fixed wireless broadband – in essence using 5G connections as an alternative to cable, DSL and new fiber broadband links. For that reason, Austin may not only be a convenient choice for AT&T but also a strategic choice. Austin is a Google Fiber city, and a handful of its residents are starting to get their first taste of a 1 Gbps home broadband connection. AT&T is already experimenting with its own fiber-to-the-home service called GigaPower, but it may now be toying with the idea that it could provide the same kind of gigabit service without digging any trenches and stringing any cables.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike Mozart

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike Mozart

Trialing 5G as a fixed broadband technology is smart move by AT&T because it insulates it from the standards process. 5G standards are still years away from being final, so whatever so-called 5G networks operators deploy this year and next will use proprietary technology. That means there won’t be smartphones and devices that can connect to them, and the networks themselves will be isolated from one another. That’s not to say that these early trials won’t be important from proving the merits of future 5G technologies, but it’s almost impossible to build a commercially viable mobile network without standards. The same can’t be said for a fixed wireless network. The residential broadband network AT&T builds only needs to connect with one kind of device, the modem installed in the customer’s home.

Of course, 5G will be much more than a means to faster home internet. The researchers developing 5G standards envision it providing much faster speeds to our phones, tablets, cars, laptops and cars. It could also supply the low latency necessary to power whole new categories of applications and the low power links necessary to connect the internet of things. It’s going to be a while before all of those technologies become reality, but one of the first steps along the road will be enhancements to our current LTE and LTE-Advanced technologies. Those upgrades could boost today’s 4G performance considerably.

Faster mobile speeds have to be high on AT&T’s and every other U.S. operator’s mind, considering how far behind the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the world in LTE technology. According to OpenSignal’s recently released USA State of Mobile Networks report, average 4G speed in the U.S. is 9.9 Mbps in the fourth quarter, far below the global of 13.5 Mbps.

Posted in Other | Tagged , | 1 Comment