February 16th, 2009
01:44 PM GMT
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I've just completed my first two big CEO interviews planned for this week at the Mobile World Congress, and they couldn't have been more different.

First it was Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, who is here to launch an upgrade to the Windows mobile operating system (look out for my TV reports for details).

Steve's a cool guy and gave us a great interview, but before we could talk to him we had to negotiate the huge, highly efficient Microsoft media machine.

We were placed into the care of no less than four different minders before being ushered into the great man's hotel suite overlooking the conference venue for our 10-minute audience which was over all too quickly.

Contrast that with the welcome we got at RIM, the makers of BlackBerry devices.

I know it's a much smaller company, but the atmosphere at their show "chalet" was so much more relaxed and informal.

Joint CEO Jim Balsillie was his usual, cheerful and irreverent self and gave his time generously, even when I asked him awkward questions about stock options which have been getting RIM into the news for all the wrong reasons. (You can see both interviews throughout the week on CNN or here at cnn.com.)

Otherwise, it's been a crazy first morning here at the Congress. First job of the day was an early call on a company called Tellabs, which helps mobile operators get the best out of their networks.

They told us about a survey they commissioned in which they asked mobile consumers about their future plans. The results have given the mobile telecoms industry confidence it can weather the worst of the economic downturn.

It showed that while people may be reluctant to splash out on a handset upgrade in the near future, they aren't planning to cut back on the number of calls they make or the amount of data they use.

It would seem that we just can't live without our beloved mobiles and in a recession our phone bills will be considered by many as essential spending.

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Filed under: Technology


soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    I think that is true. You can check out the trends in MVNO start ups. They are gaining in popularity particularly in these troubled times due to the fact they they provide many of the services the big guys do at substatially lower prices. Everybody wants and needs to be connected. It is our lifeline now.

    February 16, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  2. Elvis

    I think Adrian Finighan is either been over optimistic or just plain naive especially after interview two CEOs. People are cutting back on calls and more on texting and emailing. Mobiles are new tool in our daily lives, 15 years ago, we dont even need mobile phones. Why would we spend more on mobile calls when we can get much cheaper alternative via VOIP?

    February 16, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  3. Barbara Wilson

    Just wanted to remind everyone that even when markets have selloffs the brokers, ig Wall Street, are still making money.

    February 17, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  4. Alice

    Quite possibly people will give up their landlines in a recession, particularly if they need to move more often. Landlines are non-essential if you own a cell-phone, and most broadband plans are often not much more expensive, or not at all more expensive than phone based internet if you already have even basic cable television.

    February 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  5. Jaimi

    I agree with Alice. I worked in the wireless industry for the last six years. I hear so many of my customers tell me they couldn't live without their cell. They would rather give up their landline and pay $9.99 extra a month to add an additional cell onto their service and use that as a land line to to make sure a phone is at the house for their children. I have not had a landline service since I lived with my parents 7 years ago. I wouldn't give up my blackberry for anything.

    February 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  6. paul

    All i know is that, Phone is s necessary factor in this world. whither cell or land, it is the easy and fastest means of communication. so, in this present world, we can't do without cell phones.

    February 22, 2009 at 12:16 am |
  7. Dr. Intercambio

    For the short, mid term cellphones should ride the recession quite well. However, after some time VOIP will become mainstream and they will have to adapt. In my field even people travelling abroad, including international students, want to remain connected to the world, and most don't bother paying high fees for that. Cellphones are the "cool" now but VOIP will be te "cool" not too long in the future as since now the ones who are price conscious are lookin for ways to save. And the internet, specially in the future, will be the key for that.
    Gabriel McKinsey – Academia Intercambios
    Intercambio Cursos Exterior

    February 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  8. Amelie Griffiths

    What is the latest and most expensive cellphones this year ?-:~

    May 20, 2010 at 1:33 am |
  9. Autumn Washington

    i love camera cellphones so much, i wish they could have make a 10 Megapixel camera cellphone.;.

    October 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm |

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