MWC 2018 wrap-up: How mobile is reshaping the world
Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the largest technology conferences and also one of the most international ones, with representation of small- to large-sized companies from Europe, Asia, and North and South America. This year, I attended MWC in Barcelona. It was a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the mobile tech industry and everything that’s connected to it.
We live in a world that has shifted significant weight from fixed-line to mobile connectivity. (The percentage of people owning a fixed-line home phone has shrunk significantly.) And, like in the case of India or many African countries, entire regions jumped from old infrastructures directly to mobile technology and everything that comes with it, avoiding the time and cost of putting in place “old school” cable infrastructure. The advent of 5G is going to make wired connections even more obsolete. Let’s learn more about how mobile is reshaping the world – and maybe how our clients do business.5G dominates
5G (the much faster successor technology to today’s 4G/LTE) was, not surprisingly, one of the key topics at MWC 2018. And it’s going to go commercial soon:
- China Mobile is already field-testing 5G with five different providers in five different Chinese cities (e.g., with ZTE in Guangzhou).
- Ericsson already tested 5G at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The United States, Japan, and several other counties are striving to be leaders in 5G.
You couldn’t miss China’s significant presence at MWC.
With over 1.3 billion in population, China’s middle class keeps growing, and technology is critically needed to help hundreds of millions of people transition to a new, wealthier lifestyle. Any tech product developed for that market immediately has a very large base of potential users (i.e., they can test products in a huge domestic market and then start shipping internationally). Their product quality has definitely improved significantly over the last several years.
Alibaba, for example, has been operating fully digital grocery stores in China for over 13 months. When it comes to mobile e-commerce, China has remarkable technology that is handling all kinds of payments and e-commerce directly via messaging apps.
To be clear, I’d still consider the United States the #1 tech country, with Silicon Valley being the clear leader in technology innovation globally. But we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to keep innovating as the rest of the world certainly isn’t asleep.