As one of the first major global events of the year the 2011 Mobile World Congress was eagerly awaited. Largely perceived as the platform for the mobile communications sector to discuss and evaluate the issues impacting the industry and a vital marketplace for showcasing the latest technological developments, the Congress is a barometer of current activity. Held from 14 to 17 February at the Fira de Barcelona Conference and Exhibition Centre, the event lived up to its longstanding reputation for being a hotspot of innovation and a springboard for new technologies that will impact on people’s everyday lives across the globe, now and into the future.

For the world’s media the headlines in news bulletins were the unveiling of the world’s first 3D phone, the myriad of ‘APPS’ showcased in the APP Planet, which claims to be at the centre of the Apps Universe and the visual impact of the Android booth in Hall 8 where grown men were encouraged to slide down a two-storey android figure. However, along with the hype the Congress also offered attendees the opportunity to view the complete wireless ecosystem, from mobile device manufacturers, through base station design and implementation, along with system and component testing and mobile backhaul, not only to do business but also address key developments.

A significant issue that the industry continues to face and one that the shear size of this year’s App Planet demonstrates is the knock-on affect that the explosion in apps and the demand being created by users, particularly of bandwidth-hungry smartphones, is having on networks globally. The potential problems have been evident for some time but commercial pressures, market positioning etc, have, in many cases, led operators to generally side step the issue. However, the clear message from the show floor was that the situation needs to be addressed urgently.

The conference program did touch on the subject with the Network Breaking Point conference session championing the end of ‘all-you-can-eat data plans’ and discussing how far, LTE, which is being marketed as the ‘data congestion cure’, will go to solving the capacity crunch. Other sessions of particular interest included, Launch experiences, deployment strategies and the way to efficient operation and Mobile devices: it’s what inside that counts.

All of what counts, from individual components, integrated solutions, hardware, software, network infrastructure to testing was on show in the eight halls during the four-day exhibition. Companies large and small, from across the globe, and spanning the complete spectrum of the mobile communications industry targeted MWC 2011 to make key product announcements. Those particularly active in the RF and microwave sector were the test and measurement, semiconductor and chipset, components, femtocell and backhaul equipment manufacturers. Read on for a selection of the new products that were showcased.

Click here to view coverage of Test & Measurement.

Click here to view coverage of Power Amplifiers and Platforms.

Click here to view coverage of Components, Systems and Software.

Click here to view coverage of Femtocells, Radios and Mobile Backhaul.