Mobile World Congress: What is it and what did we learn this year?

If you’re a technology observer, then you’ve likely heard a lot about MWC in recent months. But what is MWC, why is it important and what did we learn this year?

What is MWC?

Mobile World Congress (also known as MWC), is a trade show dedicated to the mobile communications industry. The show is organised by The GSM Association (commonly referred to as ‘the GSMA’), an industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide.

MWC takes place every year in Barcelona, at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via. It is attended primarily by device manufacturers, network equipment providers, representatives of wireless carriers, and the press.

Why is MWC important?

MWC Barcelona is thought of as one of the world’s most influential events for the connectivity industry. Every year world-leading organisations and up and coming trailblazers share the latest thought leadership about the progression and future of the connectivity and mobile industry.

The event is often used as a launch pad by device manufacturers to unveil latest designs, updates or future plans. It’s also where industry leaders and influencers gather to network.

What did we learn at MWC this year?

As with any show like this, there are too many announcements to list and feature – but in this article we’ll call out some of our favourite announcements and observations.

Laptops take the spotlight: As the name suggest, MWC is usually all about updates and releases to the latest mobile phones – however this year there was a surprising number of laptop announcements. A good round up can be found here.

Next generation smartphones: As to be expected, the show was full of announcements about new handsets. Nokia, OnePlus and Poco were just some of the brands that made announcements at this year’s show. A great summary of these new devices can be found here.

Future of in-car entertainment: Virtual reality group, Holoride are looking to revolutionise in-car entertainment through VR – all the while reducing motion sickness. The full details can be found in this Pocket-Lint article.

The Metaverse was a hot topic: The big theme of the show was the Metaverse – a concept that replaces people in the real world with avatars in the virtual one. There were numerous conference sessions and stands dedicated to it. For example, Telefonica even hosted a “stand in the metaverse” to let remote attendees virtually visit the four physical areas on the exhibition floors. The metaverse divides opinion, but most can agree that it represents the next evolution of the internet, one that consists of shared 3D virtual spaces that are linked to the real physical world.

IoT and private Networks: Despite the hype about the Metaverse, one of our biggest observations from the conference was the focus on 5G private networks, with a flurry of big announcements in this area. A full low-down of this topic can be found here.

Published: 13 April, 2022