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Day One at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona

There was an encouraging air of enthusiasm, despite the lashing rain as the show returned almost to its pre-Covid scale. MWC had been a quieter affair for the past couple of years and was cancelled entirely in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year looks busier.

The Show had a huge number of smartphone launches. These included Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro; Honor smartphone series, the Honor Magic5; Realme’s GT-3; and OnePlus 11 Concept device to name a few. Chinese smartphone brands (and telecom firms) dominated the Show, it seems an attempt to have a wider presence in Europe.

Tecno’s first foldable smartphone has officially been teased by the brand and has been confirmed to use a 4nm MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ SoC. The Phantom V Fold is the world’s first left-right foldable smartphone to be powered by MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ processor.

Nokia has brought several budget smartphone offerings to MWC23. The smartphone maker already released the C02 entry-level handset earlier this week and is set to showcase other devices in its G series and C series with the focus on repairability and sustainability. Nokia is showcasing the latest in 5G and what to look forward to in the future in 6G.

HMD has worked to make what it says are the most common smartphone repairs — replacing a broken screen, charging port, or flat battery — a simpler process on its new Nokia G22, and it’s partnering with repair specialists iFixit to provide customers with the necessary replacement parts, tools, and guides. The Nokia G22 will be available on March 8th in the UK for £149.99 (€179 / around $180) and will be sold in select global markets like Europe.

Public cloud providers showcased their offerings in an effort to entice telecom companies. AWS had two key announcements – the new RAN offering in partnership with Nokia and the AWS Telco Network Builder. Microsoft announced the public preview of Azure Operator Nexus – the next-generation hybrid cloud platform created for communications service providers (CSPs). Google updated Distributed Cloud Edge (GDC Edge) to bring Google Cloud’s infrastructure to the far edge of their radio access networks (RANs) as well as their 5G core networks. As communication service providers modernize their stack by moving to container network functions (CNF), hyperscalers compete to offer end-to-end platforms based on Kubernetes and converged infrastructure.

This year’s Show, themed on Velocity, has five key seminars focusing on 5G acceleration, Reality+, OpenNet, FinTech and Digital Everything. Speaking at an opening event, EU industry chief Thierry Breton defended a 12-week consultation launched last week which could require Big Tech to shoulder more of the costs. He said he was not taking sides in a clash between Big Tech and European telecoms operators over who should fund the rollout of 5G and broadband. Breton spoke at an opening event where Telefonica CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete and Orange CEO Christel Heydemann also participated.

“This is the time to collaborate between telcos and Big Tech,” said Alvarez-Pallete. “Collaborating means everybody contributing with a fair share of the effort”.

Orange’s Heydemann deemed the EU consultation a “first step” to address what she called an “unbalanced situation”, while stressing she was not calling to change Europe’s net neutrality principle nor pushing for a new tax mechanism. “We call for a new European framework which would bring a fair contribution of large online traffic generators to connectivity requirements,” she said.

More than 80,000 people, including tech executives, innovators, and regulators, are expected to attend the event. GSMA is behind MWC. The Show will go on till March 2.

CT Bureau

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