MWC Shanghai, the regional edition of the world’s largest mobile communications industry trade show, returns as in-person event on Wednesday after a two-year hiatus owing to previous strict Covid-19 restrictions in China.
This year’s event, which will run from June 28 to 30 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, will be held under the theme of “Velocity” and focus on three main areas: 5G transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR), according to London-based organiser the GSM Association, which represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide.
This year marks not only the first decade in China for MWC Shanghai, but also the event’s “grand and comprehensive” offline return since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, said Sihan Bo Chen, GSMA’s head of Greater China, at a press conference on Sunday.
“The most significant transformation witnessed over the past decade has been the [mobile communications] industry’s transition from 4G to the 5G era,” she said, adding that the next-generation mobile technology is expected to become fully mainstream in various countries by 2030.
MWC Shanghai’s offline return follows the GMA Association’s successful staging of flagship annual trade show MWC Barcelona as an in-person event from February 27 to March 2 this year in Spain.
The event last year was cancelled because of rigid Covid-19 control measures imposed on the metropolis, home to a population of 26 million. Its 2021 edition was held in February, following a break in 2020 as the global pandemic started, with 17,500 attendees offline and more than 7,000 visitors online.
This year’s theme at MWC Shanghai underscores the importance of next-generation mobile network development in China, which already has the telecommunications industry’s largest 5G infrastructure and remains the world’s biggest smartphone market.
China had already surpassed 60 per cent of the world’s total 5G connections by the end of last year, despite a tech war with the United States. China’s 5G connections are expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2030, accounting for nearly one-third of the global total, according to the latest market report released by the GSM Association.
China started its commercial deployment of 5G mobile services in June 2019. As of March this year, the number of 5G base stations in the country has surpassed 2.64 million, with service coverage extended to all of the nation’s counties.
Shanghai aims to install 70,000 5G base stations by 2025, while achieving a fixed broadband access bandwidth of 500 megabits per second, according to the city’s Five-Year blueprint released in 2021. South China Morning Post