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GSMA wraps up MWC23

The world’s largest and most influential connectivity event, MWC Barcelona was back in full force this year. It is indeed the world’s largest and most influential connectivity event.

MWC Barcelona 2023 in numbers

  • Over 88,500 people attended in-person, 56% from industries adjacent to the core mobile ecosystem
  • Attendees from 202 countries and territories
  • More than 2,400 exhibitors, sponsors and partners
  • Over 1,000 speakers and thought leaders
  • Over 40% keynotes speakers from adjacent industries, with more than 40% female keynote speakers
  • Over half of attendees at director level and above, of which 21% were C-suite and 26% female attendees
  • The GSMA Ministerial Programme convened with the highest number of delegations ever, with 196 delegations from over 150 countries, nearly 70 ministers and over 100 heads of regulatory authorities.
  • 4YFN welcomed almost 800 exhibitors, more than 375 speakers and over 250 pitching sessions
  • Reporting on the event in-person, more than 2,400 journalists and industry analysts from around the world
  • On average,10,000 networking meetings set up daily through the app
  • Around a million unique viewers of the keynote sessions on MWC Barcelona, Mobile World Live and partner platforms
  • Based on pre-event forecasting, the GSMA expected €350 million of economic impact and 7,400 part-time jobs would be created in the city of Barcelona by MWC Barcelona 2023. We now expect to exceed this forecast and will provide an update in due course.

“I am delighted to see so much positive momentum, with halls bustling with energy for four full days. As digital technologies continue to develop, there is new excitement in the air that MWC captured so well. The transition to Web 3.0 will trigger a new explosion in network traffic and it is critical that we work together to prepare. Consumers living in a data-driven world need increasing amounts of capacity at the edge of the network to extend the capabilities of cloud computing and our industry is well placed to do it,” said GSMA’s Director General, Mats Granryd.

MWC creates a unique platform for the amplification of industry announcements and thought leadership.

As digital transformation flourishes around the world, attendees came to be inspired by curated content – from the father of the cell phone, Martin Cooper, honoured as the first recipient of the GLOMO Lifetime Achievement Award, to the pioneers, thought leaders and innovators of Web 3.0.

The event theme “Velocity” was brought to life in key themes discussed across multiple platforms. These included 5G, AI, the fair share debate and public policy, as well as cross-sector collaborations, including the GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative. The GSMA also launched a dedicated zone at MWC Barcelona to raise awareness of the usage gap, an under-reported global issue which prevents 3.2 billion people worldwide from reaping the benefits of access to digital services.

Thanks to its increasingly diverse nature, the show provides an excellent platform to foster innovation and debate, network and make new connections, and deliver the key decision-makers necessary to make deals.

It is also the largest global gathering of policymakers who enable the digital economy. The Ministerial Programme brings together the world’s leaders and decision-makers to convene as they work to navigate today’s complex world, with the technologies that will pave the way for economic recovery and a digitally inclusive future. Meanwhile, 4YFN showcased and connected startups, investors and companies to launch new business ventures together. Across the exhibitor stands, speaker platforms, special summits and brand-new feature areas, MWC showed one more time that it is the place to see tomorrow’s technology today.

MWC Barcelona is the first event of the 2023 MWC series. It continue its journey to unlock the full power of connectivity at MWC Shanghai, which is scheduled for 28-30 June 2023; MWC Las Vegas 26-28 September 2023; MWC Africa 17-19 October 2023.

In addition, the Mobile 360 event series will kick off 16-17 May with the M360 Eurasia in Baku. Further editions include M360 LATAM returning to Mexico City 31 May-1 June; the first-ever M360 UK, focused on Industry & Security, will take place in London between 11-12 July; M360 Asia Pacific in Seoul in September; M360 MENA will take place in Riyadh in November; and we will finish the year back in London with the second iteration of M360 UK in November, Connectivity for Good and addressing humanitarian challenges.

Next year’s MWC Barcelona 2024, will take place 26-29 February 2024.

Day 4 highlights
Huawei came back to MWC this year in a big way. The company took over Hall 1 of the Fira Gran Via, and its public relations team made a valiant effort to reach out to the international press after more than four years of relative quiet.
The company has established relationships with a number of carriers around the world. and 15 carriers exhibited at the event. These included: China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom; Telecom Argentina, Claro in Brasil; True and AIS from Thailand; HKT from Hong Kong; Safaricom and Ethio Telecom; Telefonica; and Turkcell.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin’s promised that ITU will include sustainability as a specification for 6G. “We can’t separate technology from humans,” said the Secretary-General of ITU. she said during a keynote at MWC23. “The best way to measure success in delivering internet connection is meeting the United Nations SDGs.”

In her view, there are four actions that the telecoms industry must take “right now” to accomplish those goals:

  • 6G: The Secretary-General said that the ITU vision for 6G will include, for the first time, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability as part of the specifications of the new technology.
  • Making radio-frequency spectrum available, sharing it, and associating RF with satellite orbit resources. According to her, these topics will be addressed at this year’s WRC. “The outcomes of that conference will shape the digital economy for the decade,” Bogdan-Martin said.
  • Developing standards: the industry needs to speak the same languages and manage the integration of AI, the Internet of Things, and networks to make them more efficient and sustainable.
  • School connectivity: Ensuring children will have access to the internet and enhanced education at the schools will be fundamental for meeting the SDGs.

“Failure is not an option, Bogdan-Martin said. “We have to make the SDGs real. There are 2.7 billion people unconnected. [in order to change that] We need an open, free, and secure future digital for all,” she concluded.

“The level of energy and support from partners, businesses and policymakers has exceeded our hopes and expectations. I am continuously awed and humbled by the sense of community, innovation, excitement and business generation at MWC Barcelona. Anecdotally, exhibitors and partners are reporting that their expectations have been surpassed and, in some cases, have beaten 2019. On behalf of the GSMA, I would like to express our sincerest thanks to all new and returning attendees, exhibitors, speakers, partners and sponsors, without whom this gathering would not be possible,” concluded John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Limited.

CT Bureau

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