GSM Olympics

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 12, 2007 (AFP) – Leaders in the mobile phone industry gathered in Barcelona on Monday promising faster connections, more fun and cheaper calls at the start of one of the biggest trade shows for the sector. The 3GSM event is expected to draw 60,000 people over the next four days with 1,300 companies showcasing the new technologies set to deliver more advanced handsets and improved services.

The convention, which runs to Thursday, is an annual opportunity to spot new trends in the industry, with the large delegations from the entertainment business a key talking point this year.

Entertainment groups or so-called “content providers” such as Yahoo, MTV and Warner Music have a hall to themselves for the first time here, demonstrating how television channels, video game makers and music producers are a vital part of the mobile phone industry.

Simple mobile or cell phones will become a thing of the past, industry insiders hope, with manufacturers counting on handsets being increasingly used to download music,
watch television, play video games and surf the Web.

For the telecom groups, entertainment providers are needed to drive consumers to buy communication time, while the entertainment