Zuckerberg’s MWC keynote: friendly overtures for the carriers, boredom for the audience
In his keynote panel at Mobile World Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed his approach and made friendly overtures to carriers. Their relationship with his company has been a strained one, thanks to free messaging services, WhatsApp and Messenger, which are displacing SMS, and their Internet.org project, which aims to provide free wireless internet to people who would otherwise not have it. It seems that one of the points that Zuckerberg wanted to convey in this appearance was that Facebook was a boon to them, not a threat.
Referring to Android head Sundar Pinchai’s earlier keynote presentation, in which he talked about Google’s Loon and Titan projects, whose goals are to create balloon- and drone-based cellular networks to bring the internet to underserved people, Zuckerberg reassured carriers by saying that they, and not these projects, will actually do the job. “People like talking about that stuff because it’s sexy,” he said, “That’s at the fringe of the real work that’s going on. Ninety percent of the people in the world already live within range of the network. “Going forward the face of Internet.org needs to be the companies doing the work, laying the fiber in the ground, building the infrastructure that’s actually connecting people in the world.”
While Facebook’s free messaging apps are said to eat intro carrier revenue and be detrimental to customer-carrier relationships, Zuckerberg argues that Facebook’s continued growth and Internet.org will be good news for carriers: “The feedback from partners is not only do more people start adopting data, but people use more voice and SMS and pay for that even more. We’ve seen a lot of cases where ARPU [average revenue per user] goes up.”
- CNet — Zuckerberg: Carriers will connect the world, not sci-fi
- Re/code — Mark Zuckerberg to Mobile Carriers: Facebook Is Good for Your Business
- Gigaom — Zuckerberg’s Internet.org feels the love (and fear) from carriers
- New York Times — Mark Zuckerberg Goes on Charm Offensive for Internet.org
Some observers noted on Twitter that the exchanges between Zuckerberg and carrier representatives looked like a love-in…
— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) March 2, 2015
There’s a lot of buzz about wearables at MWC, and especially about Huawei’s watch. Described by The Verge as “the most watch-like Android smartwatch yet”, it’s been getting a lot of praise from many quarters. Here’s The Verge’s hands-on with the watch:
See us at MWC!
We’re in Barcelona to see what’s new at MWC, and to talk to people! In attendance are:
- Dan Goorno, our Vice President, Strategic Alliances,
- Bob Herzich, our Director of Business Development, and
- Bob Goulet, our Director of Channel Sales.
Want to meet up with us while we’re there? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.