I recently returned from Mobile World Congress, held annually in Barcelona. It was huge: 85,000 visitors a day and eight enormous halls full of everything from consumer goods to emerging gear for LTE networking.
Cradlepoint has had a European presence for some time, starting with our first 3G COR router solution. Last July we introduced our first 4G solution for Europe to great accolades from the reseller community. And we’ve become a known entity among multinationals with a European presence. This year’s MWC accelerated our move into the European market.
First, it presented an opportunity for us to showcase our solutions before a large audience, and to meet customers, distributors, and carriers (known here as “operators) face to face.
The event was particularly important for our relationships with distributors. Prior to MWC, our only contact with many of the European distributors was by phone. What emerged from our many meetings and booth presence was a much better understanding by distributors of who Cradlepoint is and how our solutions can help European companies start to move aggressively into wireless connectivity.
MWC also provided a valuable opportunity for us to show off our cloud management solution: NetCloud Manager. People were able to see it in a setting that made it clear just how powerful it is. Furthermore, seeing it and all of our other offerings perform in real time will help motivate our channel partners to push Cradlepoint much more vigorously across Europe.
Speaking of real time, I think it’s fair to say that we stunned a lot of people (and, frankly, ourselves) when we ran some tests to see what kind of speed we could get through our LTE connection at the event. We ran one speed test and got 97 Mbps, which pretty much blew us all away. Customers and distributors couldn’t understand how we got that kind of speed out of a cell connection. They were looking at the back of the box to see if any wires were coming out. There weren’t. It was all LTE.
We ran further tests and still saw results in the 80 Mbps range, and consistently pulled down at least 40 Mbps, even at busy times of the show. That made a pretty strong statement to people who visited our booth. Having a viable network completely run on cellular is possible now in Europe—not in two years.
While some countries in Europe have been slow to adopt LTE, it has been available in others for years. The exciting thing about LTE in Europe is that operators have been consistent with their frequency and technology adoption so a single physical modem can be used with all major carriers with just a switch of the SIM, unlike the US, which still requires unique modems for different carriers. In some ways Europe is ahead of the US with standards which make operator independence (at least from a hardware perspective) a reality today. I’ll talk more about that and LTE adoption in the EU in a future post.