Skip to main content

Mobile World Congress is just days away and this year’s event is set to be one of the busiest yet. With 95,000 people expected to attend this year, what will the 2024 event in Barcelona have in store? We’ve pulled together some of what we believe will be the biggest trends this year. So as you prepare to dig out your suitcases and pack your armoury of blister plasters have a look at our blog – we’d love to hear your views!

  • As is the case every year, we will see the launch of a flurry of new handsets. Although Apple won’t be present (as is often the case), we are expecting news from the likes of Samsung, Google, Motorola, HTC, Huawei, Xiaomi, HMD and others. Perhaps more interesting than the handsets themselves though will be the wearables that surround them. From fitness trackers to smart watches and VR headsets, there will be something to attract the interest of many a savvy consumer.
  • AI is set to dominate discussions once again with many vendors promising demos showing how telcos are adopting AI. There are a number of AI focused panels too including a rare key note appearance from Demis Hassabis, the CEO and co-founder of DeepMind, yet another indication of the growing interest around AI. However, perhaps the most interesting will be the topic of AI regulation and the importance of industry collaboration to implementing responsible AI principles.
  • 5G and 6G will continue to be popular discussion points – particularly given the pressure telcos are under to re-coup the investments they have made in 5G. Perhaps of most interest will be the use cases of 5G in action and smart manufacturing where 5G-enabled technologies are powering industrial robots and smart factories. 6G needs to be a topic we should be careful not to over hype but no doubt discussion on its potential will continue
  • Private networks will be another big area with a focus on the sectors and geographies seeing the biggest growth. However, perhaps more important will be tackling the challenges that still need to be addressed to fully reap the rewards.
  • Open RAN (ORAN) will be another popular area for discussion but hopefully with a focus more on transitioning ORAN from a conceptual and tested model to one that is being implemented in real-world scenarios.
  • Whilst the hype of the consumer metaverse seems to be waning, the industrial metaverse will continue to be a hot topic at the show with some companies proving the power of frontier tech such as digital twins, AR and XR.
  • Addressing global issues, sustainability should and will be central to the conference agenda. However, sustainability means many different things to different people. Much of the focus is rightly given to renewables and energy consumption so it was interesting to see research from the GSMA which showed that energy consumption by the RAN accounts for over 80% of total network consumption. How do operators address this moving forward? It will be interesting what developments we hear in this regard.
  • As a woman working in tech, I’ll also be interested to hear more about how the industry is working to attract and maintain a diverse talent pool. At 32%, the share of women working in tech is now lower than it was in 1984, when it was 35% and the percentage of women in tech leadership roles has fallen to 28% in 2023. It will be interesting to hear views from leaders in the industry on how we work together to address this so we more fairly represent the customers we are serving.


Elena Davidson

Elena is the CEO of Liberty Communications

Leave a Reply