What’s happening at Mobile World Congress 2015, Day 2

Zuckerberg’s MWC keynote: friendly overtures for the carriers, boredom for the audience

zuckerberg - i come in peace

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 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 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 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.”

More reading:

Some observers noted on Twitter that the exchanges between Zuckerberg and carrier representatives looked like a love-in…

…while others thought it was a snoozefest: 

Huawei’s watch

huawei watch

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!

see us in barcelona

We’re in Barcelona to see what’s new at MWC, and to talk to people! In attendance are:

Want to meet up with us while we’re there? Drop us a line at

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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