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Mobile World Congress Las Vegas 2022 Key Takeaways


Mobile World Congress Las Vegas 2022 Key Takeaways

Cheenu Seshadri shares five key takeaways from the recent Mobile World Congress in Las Vegas, which includes insights on 5G, private networks, the metaverse, cybersecurity, and more.

Here’s our team’s take on the recently concluded #MWC22 in Las Vegas. While this was our first in-person industry event since #CES20 and we were excited to be in Vegas, the event overall was a bit of a let-down. The number and quality of exhibits were 2nd rate and nearly 1⁄2 of our industry contacts chose not to attend. Clearly Covid-19 has taught us all, especially those in the mobile industry that virtual is almost as effective as in-person.

1. 5G is a one trick pony, for now: There was widespread euphoria around the success of fixed wireless access (FWA) in offering home broadband services. With 78% of the industry’s net adds during the 1st half of 2022, it has certainly wreaked havoc with the plans and stock valuations of cable companies and dampened what was unbridled enthusiasm for fiber to the home providers. Though industry participants put on a game face and talked up the potential opportunities with private networks, metaverse, online gaming, and smart cities (surprisingly not much talk about autonomous vehicles), one got the feeling that these might either not turn out to be major revenue drivers or become sizeable for a decade or more! More on what industry participants think is next by our friend Mike Dano at LightReading at FWA is a success. Now the hunt is on for the next big 5G use case.

2. Private networks continue to gain traction: You know private networks are past the “peak of inflated expectations” when Amazon launches a private 5G managed service, albeit powered by Federated Wireless. Verizon also has made private 5G networks a pillar of its business segment growth, offering a turn-key private networking product in partnership with Celona. NTT demo’ed “5G in a box” for an employee safety use case. We expect turnkey solutions from infrastructure OEMs, network operators, and hyperscalers to inject new momentum into this market, especially for industrial use cases. Additionally, innovation in pricing models, where coverage and capacity drive cost rather than the number of devices are coming to a market near you!

3. Metaverse hype was deafening: “Digital Human as a Service” (DHaaS) was the most quirky thing we heard at the #MWC22 – clearly aaS is very attractive! Companies large and small are streaming into the metaverse hoping it will supercharge growth that they’re suddenly finding elusive in the real world! Qualcomm described the metaverse as an immersive experience and talked up their high-performance, low-power hardware, perception algorithms, and software platforms as well as “Snapdragon Spaces”, an open, cross-device ecosystem. Nvidia characterized the metaverse as the 3D evolution of the internet and talked up the “Nvidia Omniverse”, a platform for creating metaverse applications. In addition to the gimmicky virtual robots for customer service, participants showcased some serious use cases such as building warehouses in the omniverse before physical build.

4. Mobile industry acknowledges its pivotal role in cybersecurity: There were no less than 5 conference sessions and tech talks discussing cybersecurity and how the mobile industry could shape this space and related regulations. Participants acknowledged 5G related innovations and use cases such as mobile edge computing, network slicing, and open RAN will create new vulnerabilities, but also offer new opportunities to shape the space. While we believe mobile value chain participants are ill-equipped to innovate on cybersecurity, it offers opportunities to drive new revenue streams via deep partnerships. A more detailed write-up on this topic by @WileyRein partners is at Cybersecurity Top of Mind at #MWC22

5. Satellite increasingly building bridges with cellular: #MWC22 seemed like a satellite industry show on day 2 with pretty much every major player showing up. SpaceX, SES, Globalstar, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Iridium, Viasat, AST SpaceMobile, Lynk, and Omnispace were all there. Clearly Apple’s “Emergency SOS via Satellite” and T-Mobile’s “Coverage Above and Beyond” announcements have kicked off the smartphone space race. Everyone was talking about their plans for satellite-terrestrial hybrid networks. Additionally, extending the 5G network edge with satellite and the pricing and supply forecasts of satellite bandwidth were hotly debated issues.

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