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It’s Time to Talk About MWC

The EMEA Telecom event of the year is here. Claudette Cameron, UK TelecomS Director, Predicts this year’s top talking points.

AxiCom at MWC Barcelona

If you work in or even remotely near the world of telecoms, and you’re in Europe, the end of February means one thing: MWC Barcelona.

In fact, the average telco professional thinks about this behemoth of an industry event at least once a week all year round, once a day in January, and once an hour at a minimum in February (research project pending). Now it has finally arrived, every European AxiCommmer with a telco client can hardly talk about anything else.

So, let’s dive into MWC. Historically, the event has seen 100,000 people a day make their way to Barcelona’s Fira Gran Via. Numbers-wise, that puts it in Burning Man and Coachella festival territory. And it doesn’t feel too different from a music festival either – huge displays, demos and addresses witnessed by enthusiastic attendees, many of whom are sleep deprived from ongoing preparations or the previous night’s networking and industry parties.

This year, the GSMA expects some 80,000 to attend. So, what can we look forward to seeing at MWC 2023? Given the conversations and innovations in the industry right now, here are three key themes expected to take centre stage.

Open RAN

If you’re a telecoms equipment enthusiast (What? We exist!), then you’ll know that Open RAN has been arguably the biggest topic of debate amongst kit vendors and service providers across the globe for some time now. And the discourse has shown no signs of stopping in recent weeks, with Ericsson’s Fredrik Jeijdling, Networks Manager, telling press Open RAN is not a priority for the big three kit vendors.

Yet, in the same month, Vodafone and Orange have announced an agreement to share Open RAN networks – stating O-RAN has “significant advantages over traditional network sharing.” Expect this conversation, and similar ones, to continue during MWC


Think 5G is old news? Think again. Network operators have been making significant progress when it comes to 5G standalone (5G SA), which promises to bring greater performance and efficiency to 5G networks.

Orange made big strides in this area in February by becoming the first operator to launch 5G SA in Spain and announcing big plans for the rest of Europe and beyond. The global rollout of 5G by equipment vendors has been criticized by the media in the past so I’m sure there will be plenty of debate about this during the big show.

The Metaverse

If you’ve got a pulse and any sort of access to media, you’ll know the metaverse has been a technology industry buzzword since Zuck himself first uttered it 18 months ago. But you know what they say, buzzwords are buzzwords for a reason (oh, are you sure that isn’t it?).

The industry is excited by the possibilities of this immersive tech, with use cases popping up in enterprise, gaming, mobile communication and more. But it’s not all (virtual) roses and sunshine. Recently, a group of brainiacs at UC Berkley revealed research showing privacy may be impossible in the metaverse without innovative new safeguards to protect users. With more and more being discovered about the new concept every day, there’s bound to be some exciting metaverse news and demos unveiled at MWC.

That’s just three of the topics we’ll be following. But this is #MWC23. You already know there’s going to be so much going on across and beyond these areas to keep an eye on. Safe travels to everyone heading to Barcelona.

Look out for some of our clients on the ground including Orange, HMD, Ciena and Plume, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

Written February 27, 2023 by

Claudette Cameron

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