Mobile World Congress 2008 Diary - Monday

A "solid" Ericsson breakfast before collaring the EU regulator on the stairs...

A "solid" Ericsson breakfast before collaring the EU regulator on the stairs...

It's day one of Congress which means registration day for the masses - and press conference day for the press pack.

I started early with a 9am Ericsson breakfast briefing in the depths of Barcelona - which promised, rather strangely, to deliver "a tasty and solid" breakfast and the ruminations of CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg.

There was certainly a lot of excitement generated by the lavish breakfast of bowls of whole boiled eggs, cheeses, sausages and other unidentifiable meats. The room still had more than a little air of sausage when Svanberg took to the stage to dispense some solid - and doubtless tasty to the industry - predictions about mobile data.

An hour in and the audience was getting itchy feet, which may have been breakfast wearing off or - more likely - the fact Nokia was firing up its press event just around the corner. So just-around-the-corner in fact that PRs had been dispensed to stand outside Ericsson's gig with signs informing well-fed hacks that Nokia's event really was just around the corner. Talk about touting for business.

I dodged Nokia's signbearers - the Mighty Finn's announcement was being covered by silicon.com at an event at Nokia's Regent Street store in London - to snatch a taxi and head over to the Fira for - you guessed it - another press conference.

This was an event being held by the mobile operator body the GSM Association (GSMA), who may not be the Mighty Finn but they had promised to rustle up Viviane Reding - European Union commissioner for information society and media and witchfinder general of rip-off roaming charges.

The GSMA and its panel of speakers wanted to talk about an industry alliance against mobile child pornography they were launching - and they did for the best part of an hour.

But, inevitably, the conversation turned to roaming when a member of the press asked commissioner Reding whether she would be revealing at Congress, as she had said she would be, her thinking on how much more mobile data roaming rates needed to come down.

This was one conversation the commissioner had come fully prepared to have a good old chinwag about - but, even as she reached for her extensive notes, the GSMA's event moderator stepped in to cut off her answer, suggesting instead the question be answered at the end of the session on child pornography.

Reding piped up to suggest she take all the press' questions on roaming at the end of the GSMA Q&A. The assembled press thought this sounded like a splendid idea and we bided our time politely.

Finally the end of the Q&A... and we tensed, pens poised, breath baited as Reding reached for the microphone. And then watched in disbelief as the GSMA moderator stepped in again to silence her, saying any further questions for Ms Reding would have to be taken outside.

The room stood up en masse in panicked pursuit of its story as she manoeuvred outside, with all the stately dignity of a ship setting sail for new waters.

Cool as a cucumber, saintly as a messenger from heaven, standing in grey suede boots on the second stair of the staircase outside the GSMA press theatre, Reding delivered her verdict to a conglomerated, sweating, half-crazed scrum of scribbling notebooks.

And you can read what she had to say right here - no wonder the GSMA wanted her out of the room.

Not surprisingly the GSMA hit right back.

So the conversation on data - the one the mobile industry is going to have to have with itself - is only just beginning.

Elsewhere at Mobile World Congress today Microsoft has been banging on about the death of the business mobile device, while a number of companies have been keen to show off prototype demos of Google's Android mobile tech.

Stay tuned for more news from behind the scenes at Mobile World Congress tomorrow.