Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018 kicked off yesterday with more than 60,000 attendees expected over the three-day event. The industry’s biggest names are here to present their new products and technologies at the largest mobile event in Asia, plus high-level expert speakers from around 30 countries and diverse backgrounds.
Opening the MWC conference, Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, stressed the need for support from regulators as operators across Asia Pacific prepare to invest US$190 billion in mobile capex between now and 2020. We need a regulatory framework that is fit for the digital age, he said: timely release of harmonized spectrum and policies that facilitate the roll out of next-gen network infrastructure.
Addressing the theme “Discover a Better Future”, many speakers focused on 5G on day one.
- Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO AT&T Business, suggested that 5G will power the world through the fourth industrial revolution. AT&T intends to be the first carrier in the US to launch true standards-based mobile 5G in around 12 cities by the end of this year, making it a world leader in non-standalone (NSA) 5G.
- Eric Xu, Huawei Rotating Chairman, expressed his confidence that 5G will be safer than 4G. As the commercial launch of 5G nears, he assured attendees that it was necessary: 4G quality and speed is declining in heavily populated areas in China, where traffic volume is high. He said that Huawei will be fair and reasonable, helping to reduce costs for patents and providing a transparent patent framework to connect 100s of millions of devices.
- Rebecca Chan, Shell Retail China Head, underscored how advances in mobile tech are changing every industry. Fuel buyers already use mobile devices for payments, ordering and data searching. In the future, Shell will exploit the intelligence of connected vehicles to make its service better for customers.
Out in the exhibition halls, over 550 leading companies were vying for attention. Among the experiences we most enjoyed were:
Smart cars: China Mobile, SAIC, and Huawei jointly demonstrated how a low-latency network enabled by 5G Era LTE and the cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology can be used to control intelligent and connected vehicles. The demo had a human operator at the exhibition hall controlling an out-field fleet via a driving control console.
Virtual reality: Nokia, China Telecom and Intel demonstrated VR gaming, showing how a high-performance cloud with embedded intelligence will enable the delivery of services with extremely low-latency to the mass market over 5G.
Internet of Things: China Mobile, Ericsson, and Intel demonstrated a next-generation cellular IoT technology that they say will ultimately comply with LPWA standards to enable smart wearables, municipal IoT, smart buildings, logistics tracking and more. The demo focused on an environmental monitoring solution that measures humidity, brightness, temperature and particulates.
Join us tomorrow, when we hope to have caught Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm on the main stage, and to have learnt more about what the rapid development of 5G and AI will enable in terms of IoT.