Telstra chief executive David Thodey has confirmed plans to deliver a keynote address at the mobile industry's flagship Mobile World Congress confab in Spain next week, in coalition with partner Amdocs.
The event, held in the Spanish city of Barcelona every year, has become one of the main venues for the mobile industry to make dramatic product revelations that will shape the year ahead. For example, it was at Mobile World Congress in 2010 that Taiwanese giant HTC unveiled its Desire smartphone and its Australian exclusivity on Telstra's Next G network. The launch paved the way for the rapid adoption in Australia throughout last year of smartphones based on Google's Android platform.
This year, Thodey will speak with Amdocs on Telstra's vision of "an always-on, interactive connected world taking Australia into the next generation", according to the conference agenda, as part of a discussion with other companies on the changing role of telecommunications service providers.
In 2010, little over half a year into his tenure as Telstra CEO, Thodey cancelled a trip to Mobile World Congress to focus on discussions with the government over Telstra's role in the National Broadband Network. A year later, the discussions have substantially moved on, with Telstra and NBN Co on the verge of finalising a landmark agreement about how the telco will transition its customers and infrastructure into the NBN.
However, Thodey is still working heavily on the issue, according to the Australian Financial Review, which this morning revealed the CEO met with Mike Quigley, his counterpart at NBN Co, last week, in an attempt to get the deal bedded down and progress made ahead of Telstra's half-yearly annual results briefing this Thursday.
Thodey isn't the only Telstra chief executive to have made a splash at the Spanish conference.
In 2009 his predecessor, Sol Trujillo, attended the conference, launching an upgrade to the telco's flagship Next G network, but also hitting headlines for reportedly having a top secret prototype of a HTC/Windows Mobile handset stolen from him. Telstra later said that it wasn't actually Trujillo's phone which had been stolen, but one of the telco's other executives. Trujillo also tangled with internet telephony player Skype on stage at the conference, telling the audience he had "a responsibility to make money".
Like the CES conference in Las Vegas this month, this year's Mobile World Congress is likely to be focused on the introduction of a wave of powerful new dual-core smartphones and tablet devices based on Android. Companies like Samsung have already flagged press briefings in Australia next week to detail their new products, which could include an update to the popular Galaxy Tab tablet launched on Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in late 2010.
And another wild card will also be added into the mix, with Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer also having scheduled in a keynote at the event. The executive's speech may focus on the company's Windows Phone 7 platform, which was launched in Australia last year with a great deal of support from Telstra.