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Technology & Innovation

Connectivity Unleashed as MWC22 Barcelona Opens for Business


Day one sees innovative launches, inspiring speakers, sign language interpretation and insights from the GSMA’s Mobile Economy Report

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The world’s largest and most influential connectivity event opens its doors today at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona. MWC22 Barcelona will build on the success of last year, reflecting on a new era of connectivity and collaboration across the mobile industry.

This week at MWC22 Barcelona will see many exciting announcements, including an automotive launch, with Fisker’s unveiling of the new all-electric Ocean SUV. Monday’s speaker line-up also delivers compelling keynotes from AT&T, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Millicom, Telstra, Telefonica, Telia Company and Vodafone.

Opening MWC22 Barcelona with a keynote address, Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA, said: “We are delighted to see vibrancy return to Barcelona this year as we convene, collaborate and do business. This edition of MWC provides a collective opportunity to showcase how the digital ecosystem transforms lives and supports global recovery through the power of mobile technology.”

This year’s theme, Connectivity Unleashed, showcases the power of mobile technology in our everyday lives and explores the ground-breaking technologies that will shape industry and society. Connectivity is now intelligently transforming industries as the world moves from simple connectivity to meaningful connectivity. With exceptional speakers lined up, exciting product launches, the launch of the GSMA’s Global Mobile Economy Report 2022, and the all-new Industry City.

“The doors are now open! Our attendees will experience more than 1500 exhibitors and have access to more than 1000 speakers, plus entrepreneurs, rebels, and people doing the extraordinary,” said John Hoffman, CEO GSMA Ltd. “We are on a journey to digital everything, and MWC22 is the place to be to experience what that means.”

For the first time at MWC, live universal sign language interpretation (SLI) will be provided at all keynotes, Diversity4Tech sessions, and the Mobile for Development (M4D) session ‘Reaching Underserved Population Segments’ at 4YFN (Four Years From Now), the GSMA’s leading start-up and innovation event. The SLI will be provided in person by partner DeafTawk. The interpretation has been made possible by funding DeafTawk secured from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and GSMA Innovation Fund for Assistive Tech.

Global Mobile Economy Report 2022 confirms continued 5G momentum

Launching today, the annual Global Mobile Economy Report reveals continued momentum in 5G adoption, with the total number of 5G connections expected to reach 1 billion in 2022, as usage grows rapidly in pioneer markets.

The report highlights the mobile industry’s instrumental role in extending connectivity to people worldwide. In the last decade, network infrastructure investment by operators shrunk the coverage gap from a third of the global population to just 6%, but there is more to be done.

The adoption of mobile internet services has not kept pace with the expansion of network coverage. Despite living within the footprint of a mobile broadband network, 3.2 billion people, or 41% of the global population, are not using the mobile internet. The reasons for this usage gap vary by region and include lack of affordability and skills. These barriers to mobile internet adoption impact the most vulnerable segments of the population, including women, the elderly, people in rural areas, and persons with disabilities.

Other key findings include:

By the end of 2025, 5G will account for around a quarter of total mobile connections, and more than two in five people worldwide will live within reach of a 5G network.
In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated $4.5 trillion of economic value, equating to 5% of global GDP. The report predicts that this will grow to $5 trillion in 2025.
As 5G adoption accelerates in leading markets such as China, South Korea, and the US, 4G begins to decline. Globally, 4G adoption will account for 55% of total connections by 2025, down from a peak of 58% in 2021.
But 4G still has room to grow in most developing markets. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, 4G adoption is below a fifth of total connections.
5.3% billion people subscribed to mobile services, representing 67% of the global population, by the end of 2021.
In a growing number of markets, most adults now own a mobile phone, meaning that future growth will come from younger populations taking out a mobile subscription for the first time.
The report also highlights the vital role that mobile technology will play in accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ahead of the UN’s deadline in 2030. These include increasing access to education, healthcare and addressing poverty and inequality. Additionally, the report outlines a set of policy recommendations for achieving a resilient post-pandemic recovery. This involves investing in digital skills training, utilising public funds for connectivity, adopting a balanced approach to collecting revenues through taxes and fees in the mobile sector, and prioritising digital transformation in government services.

The GSMA Ministerial Programme is back

The GSMA Ministerial Programme welcomes more than 160 international delegations participating in this year’s discussions to support the SDGs and other critical issues. Senior policymakers, regulators, industry leaders and government officials will discuss closing the digital gap, meeting global climate targets, building policies for a digital world, and maximising the potential of 5G.

Accelerating industry collaboration and 5G transformation

Industry City has opened its doors for the first time. Co-delivered with Knowledge Partner, Accenture the exhibit showcases demos from the FinTech, Manufacturing, and Automotive sectors. It also hosts a range of Summits covering robotics and smart mobility topics.

Visitors to Industry City can also explore the GSMA Pavilion and the GSMA Foundry Forge, the go-to place for cross-industry collaboration and positive change. At the GSMA Foundry, attendees can see demos and learn about the latest projects, including an autonomous drone flight powered by AI and live-streamed over a 5G network.

Addressing societal issues

Championing greater diversity in the technology industry, the Diversity4Tech Summit also kicked off today and includes talks, panels, awards, and a roundtable to accelerate transformation and inclusion – inspiring attendees to demonstrate leadership on the issue.

MWC22 Barcelona will, for the seventh year in a row, be a carbon-neutral event again – certified by AENOR International. Mobile was the first industry to commit to achieving net-zero by 2050, and GSMA’s commitment extends to MWC22 Barcelona.

Tomorrow’s programme includes keynote sessions featuring Adam Selipsky, CEO, Amazon Web Services; Shuky Sheffer, President & CEO, Amdocs; Hon. Ms. Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman, FCC; Guo Ping, Rotating Chairman, Huawei; Cher Wang, Chairperson & CEO, HTC; Cristiano Amon, President & CEO, Qualcomm; Pekka Lundmark, President & CEO, Nokia; and Prem Akkaraju, CEO, Weta Digital.

Register for MWC22 Barcelona here.

About GSMA

The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.

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Source: GSMA