If you are packing your bags and heading to Barcelona, Spain, for the annual Mobile World Congress conference, you should expect nearly every conversation that you have at the annual confab to be somehow related to 5G. That topic, which only a few years ago was a vague concept, is now a dominant part of every vendor and operator business model.
The GSMA, which organizes the annual gathering, is expecting the show to attract more than 108,000 attendees. And the vast majority of them will be looking for the latest 5G developments – from trial results to planned deployments to commercial launch dates.
According to Michael O’Hara, CMO of the GSMA, operators from around the globe are flocking to the show to compare notes on 5G. Look for NTT Docomo CEO and President Kazuhiro Yoshizawato to talk about bringing 5G to Tokyo in the “Creating a Better Service Provider” session on Monday and for Nikki Palmer, Verizon’s chief network officer, to join Vittorio Colao, chairman of Vodafone Group, to discuss investment strategies for mobile operators, particularly with 5G on the horizon. That panel, “Who is Leading the Investment Strategy,” will take place Monday afternoon.
While 5G will likely be front-and-center at the show, other topics such as artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-access edge computing (MEC) will also be attracting a lot of attention. O’Hara said that now that 5G is bringing speed to the network, many attendees are interested in how they can lower the network latency (and their costs) with edge computing and add intelligence and automation through AI.
Internet of Things (IoT) also remains a big topic for the industry. The GSMA continues to expand its Innovation City exhibit where O’Hara said he expects to see virtual reality demos and even an IoT-equipped punching bag that will measure your strength. Also on prominent display will be a 5G demonstration from Korea Telecom, which has been making headlines the past couple of weeks for its 5G demos at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Logistics at the Show
Look for some interesting changes to the South Entrance to the Fira Gran Via (see the artist’s rendition). This entrance, which is convenient for all attendees arriving by train, will be transformed into a closed courtyard with outdoor exhibits from a number of companies. Attendees will pass through the courtyard to get to the rest of the event.
Also, if you uploaded your photo when you registered for the event, you will be able to take advantage of the latest in facial recognition technology to get into the venue.
I’ll be reporting from Barcelona along with my colleagues Dan Meyer and Jessica Lyons Hardcastle. We’ll be covering all the latest news and developments from the show. You can find all of our coverage here. And if you pass us in the hallway of the Fira Gran Via, or out and about in the city, be sure to say hello. –Sue