MWC Barcelona 2023 brought debate, inspiration and business deals for the mobile ecosystem

MWC Barcelona 2023 brought debate, inspiration and business deals for the mobile ecosystem

This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) event convened over 88,500 attendees from 202 countries and territories, including policymakers and business leaders from the mobile ecosystem and beyond. The aim of this bustling event in one of Europe’s most pioneering cities is to unlock the full power of connectivity and collaborate with partners, new potential customers, thought leaders and business decision-makers to continue evolving the telco space. 

Last month, the GSMA wrapped up MWC Barcelona 2023, the world’s largest and most influential connectivity event. There were more than 88,500 attendees, of whom 56% came from sectors adjacent to the mobile ecosystem. 

“MWC Barcelona is back in full force. The level of energy and support from partners, businesses and policymakers has exceeded our hopes and expectations,” said GSMA’s CEO, John Hoffman. “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.” 

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. That number was then expected to exceed this forecast. 

GSMA’s Director General, Mats Granryd, said that he was 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,” he said.  

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. 

Telcos such as AMD used the event as a platform for announcements and to communicate their capabilities with potential new customers. AMD announced that it will be expanding support of its growing 5G partner ecosystem spanning from core to radio access networks (RAN) applications, delivering additional new test capabilities and unveiling new 5G products. The AMD wireless telecom partner ecosystem has more than doubled in the past year, bolstered by the integration of the AMD and Xilinx product lines as well as the creation of its new Telco Solutions testing lab in collaboration with VIAVI.

Elsewhere at the event, Ericsson and AXIAN Telecom strengthened their partnership. The two companies announced a partnership for the modernisation of AXIAN Telecom’s operations in Madagascar, Telma Madagascar’s radio access network (RAN), microwave transport infrastructure and core networks.

Also at the event, Nokia, Qualcomm and T-Mobile achieved industry-first 5G Carrier Aggregation combining five Component Carriers. This innovative step is a world’s first showcase of successfully aggregating 5G Standalone (SA) spectrum using 5CC Carrier Aggregation (5CC CA) in sub-6 GHz spectrum. The successful trial aggregated 2 FDD and 3 TDD carriers resulting in peak downlink throughput speeds exceeding 4.2Gbps. 5G Carrier Aggregation with 5CC will enable mobile operators to deliver higher data rates and better coverage to even more customers. The companies are industry leaders in Carrier Aggregation technology. 

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