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Mobile World Congress 2017 - The next element

EBR’s Editor-in-chief N. Peter Kramer is among the 100.000 visitors from 200 countries to MWC 2017. The annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the largest gathering of the mobile industry in the world

The mobile industry continues to be characterised by high levels of growth and opportunity, and as the industry becomes more dynamic, the opportunities within it increase in equal amount, as do the challenges.

In 2017, the Mobile World Congress conference programme provided an essential, in-depth coverage of the contemporary and future mobile industry, highlighting specific areas of growth and opportunity.

Running across the full length of the Mobile World Congress, the 2017 conference programme will continue to be a central focus for the event, challenging and educating delegates whilst covering the latest technological developments, next generation services and growth strategies.

During the event they introduced a new conference format to include more sessions and enable an increased, in-depth analysis of the topics and trends that are shaping the mobile industry in 2017 and beyond.

From the keynote programme to topic focused conference sessions, thought leaders from the most important companies in the mobile and adjacent industries was represented across the four days of the event.

The conference programme was a highlight of the week, featuring 322 speakers from consumer brands, mobile organisations, mobile operators and industries including automotive, advertising, banking, health, NGOs, entertainment and education. Also European Commission Vice-President Ansip was present and stipulated the importance of the development of 5G, especially for Europe that, as he warned, can’t miss the boat as it did with 4G. Highly anticipated keynote speaker Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO of Netflix discussed how content is in the midst of a period of disruption and change. ‘In the era of content’, Huawei CEO Eric Xu highlighted, ‘gold being found on video. The role of mobile operators is shifting towards becoming digital content players’.

Reflections on MWC 2017 – The Next Element

The Mobile World Congress 2017 is over, it was – as usual- an overwhelming experience and probably ‘the biggest annual TMT show on earth’

5G was, like in 2016, a main subject during the World Mobile Congress 2017 in Barcelona. US chip giant Qualcomm announced its stepping up its 5G push to support timely commercial deployments and plans to conduct 5G New Radio (NR) field trials with two tier-1 operators. It will partner with Vodafone group in the UK to test 5G interoperability and conduct an over-the-air field trial based on NR specifications.

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5G is a far more complex migration than that of 3G to 4G. Is the expectation of its arrival likely to be over-enthusiastic at best and unrealistic at worst?

The Chinese company has aspirations to be number one as it moves to make more expensive devices aimed at western markets. In 2011 it shipped 1m handsets; last year this figure rose to more than 139m. ‘Smartphones are becoming some kind of commodity but technology is evolving’, says Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business since 2011.

Huawei made its mark early at the MWC 2017

Huawei made is marks early at this year’s Mobile World Congress, unveiling its new P10 flagship smartphones and smart watches

Without mention it by name, the fresh FCC chairman pointed clearly to the regulation fever of the Obama era. Policies set out in the 1990s and early 2000s -light touch regulation, encouraging facilities-based competition, free use policies (where operators can decide which technologies to use in licensed bands) and freeing up more spectrum for mobile use- had produced ‘impressive results’. ‘The private sector has spent $1.5 trillion since 1996 to deploy broadband infrastructure and consumers have also reaped awards’, said Pai. ‘Ninety-eight percent of consumers have access to three or more facilities-based access providers, and the US leads the world in 4G’.

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