Greetings from CTIA Wireless 2011! The conference is about to officially kickoff, and what better way to start an event than with a keynote. While we’re not expecting to hear any product announcements at this particular keynote, the group on stage will definitely have plenty to talk about. Verizon Wireless CEO, Dan Meade; Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse; AT&T CEO, Ralph de la Vega; and T-Mobile USA CEO, Philipp Humm will be sitting down for a “carrier roundtable” hosted by CNBC’s Jim Cramer. We’re hoping to hear some dialogue on the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile from the wireless executives. The event kicks off at 9:00 a.m. ET, hit the jump to follow along!
10:33AM:That’s it folks! Thanks for reading.
10:32AM:(Cramer says there are 45 seconds left)
10:31AM:Hesse: “Friend. It’s important to have a fourth competitor in the smartphone OS market.”
10:31AM:Q: Dan, Microsoft?
10:31AM:de la Vega: “Friend.”
10:31AM:Q: Ralph, Twitter?
10:30AM:Mead: “This isn’t the best place to announce things that we might want to own.”
10:30AM:Cramer just broke form and asked Dan Mead would buy Netflix.
10:30AM:Hesse: “I think we have to work to find a model that works for both the provider and the deliverer. Currently I would say friend.”
10:29AM:Q: Dan Hess, Netflix?
10:28AM:de la Vega: “Good friend.”
10:28AM:Q: Ralphy, Facebook?
10:28AM:Cramer is doing a lightning round, asking if companies are a “friend” or “fo” or a “frenemy”
10:27AM:Mead: “I think the Times overstated the issue and the market will stay competitive.”
10:26AM:Hesse: “I though T-Mobile already had 4G? We have to mix it up a bit, right? I’m going to have to agree with the Times.”
10:25AM:de la Vega: “False, we’re going to bring better capacity, more 4G, and a better value proposition to more customers.”
10:25AM:Q: “The NYT says there is little to cheer about for consumers with the deal, Ralph?”
10:24AM:de la Vega: “When the T-Mobile deal is done, I think we’ll bring the best device portfolio to more customers.”
10:24AM:Q: “Ralph, have you lost any customer to Verizon over the iPhone?”
10:23AM:Hesse: “We could afford a lot of things. There is going to be more cost to us and end-users due to the higher-end features that are being added to phones. More features usually means more ARPU, lower churn, and better retention. There are obviously some advantages to scale, but we feel stay competitive and are going to announce our 22nd 4G device at this conference.”
10:22AM:Q: “Dan could you afford to get the iPhone?”
10:21AM:Mead: “I think the greatest responsibility we have in our network, not in our devices and consumers see that.”
10:21AM:Q: “Dan do you think you can shift the power from the manufacturers back to the networks? You’re basically subsidizing these guys?”
10:19AM:Hesse: “I think we’re going to see a change where people want to watch programs personalized on there devices. You’re going to see flexible and expandable screens that will morph into a tablet like experience and I think that will drastically change the way that young people want to consume media. My kids are just as happy using cable or their smartphone right now.”
10:18AM:Q: Why do we need cable if 4G is so good?
10:17AM:Hesse: “Didn’t you say you had Verizon?” (laughter again)
10:16AM:Q: “Dan, I’m watching march madness on my cell phone and it freezes, why does it freeze? Do we need more towers or is it spectrum?”
10:16AM:Mead: “No, we never thought about it.”
10:15AM:Q: “Dan, did VZW try and buy T-Mobile?”
10:15AM:Hesse: “I do have concerns that it would stifle innovation due to the vast amount of wireless power being in the hands of two companies.”
10:15AM:Mead: “We’re obviously very interested in what’s going on and have made acquisitions that have helped us build our network.”
10:14AM:Hesse: “Well, my opinion really doesn’t matter, I think the DOJ and SEC will have the only opinions that really matter.” (laughter all around)
10:13AM:de la Vega: “Our spectrum usage has grown exponentially over the last four years. The merger will definitely allow both companies to better serve its customers.”
10:13AM:Q: “Dan Hesse, do you agree with that?”
10:12AM:Q: “Ralph, how much did the spectrum crunch have to do with the T-Mobile announcement?”
10:11AM:Hesse: “There are some differences between fixed and wireless broadband and we’re looking at trends. We’re really focused right now on simplicity, but you have to still make money. For now, we’re monitoring usage very closing and maintaining our unlimited position.”
10:10AM:Mead: “The whole industry is looking at ‘should there be caps’ we’re all looking, some have made moves and some have not. We’re always evaluating how to best delivery our services.”
10:09AM:Q: “Dan, I’m a Verizon customer, why is my bill so high. Why am I subsidizing people downloding videos and stuff?”
10:09AM:de la Vega: “This industry is an enabler, the video aspects of communication are going to be the next big wave β the next text messaging if you will.”
10:08AM:Q: “What’s after text messaging, is it still a huge business?”
10:08AM:Hess: “We were behind in 1G and 2G, now we are leading in 3G and 4G, and I think the world is noticing.”
10:07AM:Dan Hesse: “We now not only lead in 4G, we overtook Japan to lead in 3G. Apps, which is the fastest growing area in wireless, 50% of the revenue is coming out of the U.S.”
10:06AM:Q: “If we are the leader, how do we get that message out?”
10:06AM:Dan Meade: “That’s a myth, when you look in terms of 4G we’re not behind; we’re leading. This is the most robust network in the world.”
10:05AM:Q: “Why are we so far behind other countries??”
10:05AM:Dan Hesse: “Dictators try to control information, and with the proliferation of Twitter and mobile, it is getting harder and harder to do that.”
10:04AM:Q: “Did you industry help overthrow governments this year?”
10:03AM:He’s introducing the CEOs and Philpp Humm is not here.
10:01AM:“We’re going to get our panel started. Today’s moderator is Mr. Jim Cramer.”
10:01AM:The Chairman is asking for those that can to text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a donation to the American Red Cross.
10:00AM:The Chairman has finished. CTIA’s chairman is taking the stage.
9:59AM:“With more spectrum we can make sure that mobile can help those around the world, as we’ve seen in the Middle East and Asia.”
9:58AM:“The benefits of free up spectrum from auctions is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The incentive auction idea is a bi-partisan idea whose time has come.”
9:58AM:“every day we aren’t freeing up spectrum is a cost to our economy and our future”
9:57AM:Sorry, that was *exceed *30 billion
9:57AM:“according to the high tech spectrum coalition, ove rhte next 5 years investments in 4g wireless technologies can create 205,000 US jobs”
9:56AM:“The cost of inaction is not just delaying auction revenue. The economic benefits of freeing up spectrum exceed $30 billion.”
9:53AM:“We are working to drive more efficient use of spectrum, as well as deployment and development of femtocells. A few months ago we freed up white space in the spectrum to enable new technologies like super Wi-Fi.”
9:51AM:“American’s are becoming upset that they can’t send a text to 911, or an image of a crime scene.” (we are?) “We’re going to work to bring the next generations of 911 technology, to keep customers safe.”
9:50AM:“Consumers everywhere want the ability to roam anywhere. And they want it for all of their basic mobile services. While we are still working through the details of the data roaming framework, i Believe the core details are beyond dispute.” “We are moving on to the next generation of 911 systems.”
9:48AM:“This explosion in demand for mobile services places an unbelievable amount of strain on our invisible infrastructure. While our appetites are limited, spectrum is not. The facts tell a powerful story, analysts expect a 35x increase in mobile broadband over the next three years. To address this issue, the FCC is moving forward with an agressive mobile broadband plan.”
9:46AM:“Deploying the 40,000 towers will bring 45,000 jobs to the U.S.”
9:46AM:“In 2009 people downloaded 300 million mobile apps, last year that figure hit 5 billion. By 2015 the apps economy should generate $38 billion in sales.”
9:44AM:“In the fourth quarter of 2010 smartphones outsold PCs worldwide 101 million to 92 million.”
9:43AM:“As of late 2010 we had 140 million subscribers, making us the world’s largest 3G market.” Now 4G is finally here which will deliver a high peed experience comparable to what many enjoy on the desktop. “
9:42AM:“to some, it was a surprise the broadband plan included sections on mobile broadband. While fixed broadband is of course a vital importance, the broadband plan places unpresedented
9:41AM:“The FCC developed the first national broadband plan a year ago to identify the key strategic issues our country faces and set a path forward.” “The plan calls for transforming and modernizing. Our reform, which we;re actively at work on, will be technologically neutral.”
9:39AM:“We need to be innovating here, in the U.S., and exporting them to the rest of the world.”
9:38AM:“too many Americans have no broadband access at all. Our adoption rate in the US is 67%. Singapore? The adoption rate is 90%. If we dont innovate in the private sector and government. If we dont find new ways to meet our strategic goals the cost to our global competitiveness could be severe..” Some suggest Asia will have more 4G devices than the US by 2014.
9:37AM:“demand for the iPad 2 is so high there’s a 6 weekback-order.”
9:36AM:In regards to merger, he specifically said: “”I’m not going to comment on the recent merger.”
9:36AM:“Broadband is no longer a luxury. It’s an essential platform for new products, economic growth, and job creation. It allows businesses to start, grow, and hire.” Releasing more spectrum must be a national priority.
9:34AM:He’s not going to comment on AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile.
9:33AM:Special guest FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is now on stage!
9:31AM:Hesse is wrapping up now.
9:31AM:Hesse is giving props to the FCC for working to deliver more wireless spectrum.
9:30AM:“Wireless spectrum is the wind of change in the world. It’s also the oxygen that gives our industry life and growth. But we’re running out of oxygen. If we’re going to hold on to our stats as the leader worldwide, we must also lead the world in robust wireless broadband capacity. That means we need more spectrum. The CTIA is working to bring additional 500MHz of spectrum.”
9:28AM:“Energy efficient chargers are expected to reduce standby energy consumption by roughly 50%.
9:28AM:Our goal going forward is to collect 9 out of every 10 devices we sold by 2017, and we’re halfway there. By January of 2012 all US cell phones will use the microUSB format for charging.
9:27AM:Smart grid technology alone can save $15-35 billion in (fuel costs?)
9:26AM:“My son is turing 16 this summer. He doesn’t want one of these… but he’s getting one.”
9:24AM:Studies show that drivers, knowing they are being monitored, makes them drive more safely. 86% of teens change risky driving behaviors with in-car alerts.
9:23AM:Later this year Sprint will offer a new solution on all Android handsets. If a phone is in a car that is traveling over 10 mph it will lock itself.
9:21AM:The annual consumer market for mobile monitoring devices is expected to be between 7 billion to 43 billion (wide range) for what they’re willing to pay. In auto, the opps are enormous. There are more than 250 million cars and trucks on the road, only 4 % are connected. The US is expected to be the leading region for car internet access in the next 5 years.
9:19AM:The number of M to M devices is expected to reach 2.1 billion in 2020. THeyw ill help the industry continue to grow in utility, education, healthcare, etc.
9:19AM:US carriers have spent 80billion over the last 4 years. The US has more 4G deployed than any other country.
9:18AM:Savings for US companies form utilizing wireless companies will increase form 18 billion in 2005 to almost 73 billion in 2016. Its estimated that produtivity gains over the use of wireless devices will generated an additional 60 billion in US GDP.
9:17AM:Mobile is central to the lives of American children. 83 percent of 17 year olds own cell phones. Multiple sources expect roughly 55 million tablet shipments worldwide in 2011. In 2012 the prediction is 80 million tablet shipments. Last year the US carriers carried more data traffic than voice traffic.
9:15AM:Most IT professionals believe that within the next 5 years more developers will be working on mobile platforms than traditional platforms for enterprise.
9:14AM:More than 2 years after Google opened the Android market, they reported more than 150000 apps. As of October 2010 there were more than 300,000 for iOS devices. “Mobile applications are exploding.” Mobile app downloads are poised to have a 92% year over year growth rate.
9:12AM:Nearly 1/3 of U.S. mobile users had smartphones, by the second half of this year, more than half of the phones sold in this country will be smartphones
9:12AM:“Data revenue in the US grew by 20 percent in 2010. Mobile data revenues are expected to increase $67 billion this year. The U.S. has surpassed Japan in mobile data usage.”
9:10AM:“It took 100 years to build 1 billion fixed phone lines, but only 20 years to build 5 billion wireless connections.”
9:09AM:Since March 11, the earthquake in Japan we’ve seen incredible images. but mobile devices have become a lifeline. According to comScore, mobile traffic increased in Japan despite the cell phone service outages.
9:07AM:Sprint CEO and CTIA Chairman of the Board Dan Hesse is on stage.
9:06AM:Lights are down!
8:56AM:We’re told the program is beginning in 5 minutes, get ready.
8:55AM:Lights are still up. Someone is playing Angry Birds on a 20-foot screen.
8:48AM:We’re here, in our seats three rows from the stage. Just so you know the order of events: CTIA’s Chairman will come out with some prepared remarks, then Sprint CEO Dan Hesse will have some time on stage. After Mr. Hesse finishes up, the CEO’s of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon will have a moderated roundtable discussion hosted by CNBC’s Jim Cramer. Let’s hope Mr. Cramer can get them talking about this AT&T and T-Mobile merger… even without his beloved soundboard.