MWC – What was a hot topic at this year’s conference?

Last updated: 22 March 2023

Another year, another MWC completed. As the largest connectivity event in the world, we enjoyed meeting with industry partners and thought leaders to discuss the future of connectivity.

As expected, the show brought debate, headline grabbing news and bold predictions from the industry. While it would be impossible to summarize these all-in-one post – here’s a brief roundup of the key news and themes you might have missed.

MWC in numbers

Every year the show gets bigger, and 2023 was no exception. This year saw over 2,400 exhibitors and 1,000 thought leaders. The Fira played host to over 88,500 attendees – 56% of which were from industries adjacent to the core mobile industry, fantastic news for partnerships and deployment of connectivity solutions.

Google announced eSIM capabilities

Google chose the conference to announce its eSIM plans for Android handsets. After months of speculation, Google announced its roadmap for users to seamlessly convert physical SIMs to embedded ones – and between devices. It was announced that Deutsche Telekom would be the first carrier to offer this service.

To read our thoughts on the acceleration of the eSIM market, check out our blog here.

Are we entering the era of 5.5G?

As expected, 5G was a large theme of the show, with a lot of focus on deployment. In conjunction, conversation also turned to the next generation of 5G (5.5G, or 5G Advanced) – where the promises made in the early days of the technology can be realised.

At the show, Huawei outlined 5 key characteristics of 5.5G:

  1. 10 Gbps experiences
  2. Full-scenario interconnection
  3. Integrated sensing and communication
  4. L4 autonomous driving networks
  5. Green ICT

At this year’s show, our team was on hand to discuss how 5G continues to shape connectivity all around us – whether it’s unlocking the potential of Massive IoT, or how it will assist with the mass roll-out of eSIMs.

What’s the future of the mobile phone?

This show is always full of futuristic predictions, and this year was no different with the bold statements. Martin Cooper, the man who is credited with the invention of the first mobile phone, was on hand at MWC this year – and shared his future predictions for how we communicate.

Speaking to CNBC, the man dubbed ‘Father of the Mobile Phone’ said that he would never have dreamed that the mobile would become the portable computer that it is today. Looking to the future he said that the next generation will “have the phone embedded under the skin of their ears”.

What was new from Thales this year?

Of course, we were not short of announcements at the show ourselves. In case you missed it, we’ve summarized our key news moments below:

Pioneering post quantum cryptography with a successful world-first pilot on phone calls

Thales announced that it successfully experimented end-to-end encrypted phone calls, resilient in the Post Quantum era. The pilot, which was performed with the Thales ‘Cryptosmart’ secure mobile app and 5G SIM cards, tested a mobile-to-mobile call, voice and data encryption and user authentication. Thanks to a hybrid cryptography approach combining pre-quantum and post-quantum defence mechanisms, any data exchanged during the call was resistant to Post Quantum attacks.

Launching the World’s First GSMS Certified iSIM with Qualcomm’s Latest Snapdragon Mobile Platform

Leading industry innovators, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., announced the certification of the world’s first commercially deployable iSIM (Integrated SIM) on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform, enabling the functionality of a SIM within a smartphone’s main processor. Such GSMA’s security certification2 confirms the iSIM supports the same high standards of cyber-protection and flexible ‘anytime anywhere’ connectivity offered by the latest generation of embedded SIMs (eSIMs).

Reinforcing eSIM Management with Google Cloud Certified and Energy Efficient Services

Thales announced that it’s supporting the growth of eSIM-enabled consumer and industrial devices with Google Cloud expertise. Thales’ pioneering Cloud solution combines its own security assets with Google’s cloud presence in 200 countries to provide enhanced security, flexibility, and service availability to MNOs.

Taking 5G into space

A big topic for discussion at this year’s show was connectivity from space. For the first time at MWC, partners Thales, Ericsson and Qualcomm, held an NTN demo which outlined their plans to provide 5G connectivity anywhere on Earth and complete global coverage for wideband data services.

Attended MWC this year? What were your highlights or stand-out moments? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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