From 6G to teleprensence: MWC 2023 in five trends

9 March 2023, By Dianne Vegas, Head of Consumer

The Mobile World Congress 2023 is back to what it was: with 85,000 visitors and 2,000 companies exhibiting, this year’s event exceeded expectations. Pre-pandemic records are still a long way off, but it has regained its role as the largest global event in the mobile communications sector. Dianne Vegas, our Head of Consumer, has been closely monitoring the news presented at MWC 2023 and summarizes them in five trends. 



The connection that comes with 6G and Wi-Fi 7

The prevailing theme of this year’s MWC 2023 was “Velocity.” Now that 5G is the standard, we learned the first plans for the future launch of 6G, the next generation of mobile networks that will arrive in 2026 and promise greater speed and energy savings. We may also start to enjoy Wi-Fi 7, a technology that will speed up the connection of devices on wireless networks, and whose first models will arrive in 2024.

Among the new developments in mobile devices are flexible screens, which are progressively being introduced into the product ranges of major manufacturers. In addition to phones that fold in two or even three parts, we have seen prototypes of folding tablets. There is also a fact to consider: one in every five phones sold in the world is already second-hand.


Alliance of Telecom Operators Against Big Tech Companies

Big tech companies, which are not having their best moment amidst waves of layoffs and commercial wars such as the ban of TikTok in several countries, are now facing a new battle. Twenty of the world’s largest telecommunications operators have joined the Open Gateway alliance, which will give developers access to their networks for a fee.

What does this mean? Essentially, tech companies that consume more than 5% of the network’s capacity will have to negotiate a usage fee with telecommunications companies. The goal is to share the growing costs of deploying and maintenance of the networks, an idea supported by the European Commission.

Augmented Reality and Telepresence are Already Here

It seems that we are still a few years away from being able to enjoy the metaverse, as Mark Zuckerberg promised. However, at the Mobile World Congress 2023, we were able to see practical applications of this concept that could be particularly useful for businesses. One example is the telepresence solutions demonstrated by Telefónica, which offer an alternative to video conferencing in the growing hybrid work environment.

The olfactory virtual tour proposed by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona and the AirParfum startup from the perfumery company Puig also attracted attention. It offered the possibility of visiting several emblematic places in the city through immersive and augmented reality, to which a new sensory layer was added through smell. 

The Moment of Truth for Electric Mobility

Although it started as a congress dedicated to mobile phones, at MWC 2023, more than half of the exhibitors are dedicated to other areas of technology. One of the most prominent is electric mobility. With no news from Tesla, other manufacturers such as Xiaomi or Lucid Car took the opportunity to showcase their electric cars.

Futuristic proposals were also on display, such as flying taxis or the Hyperloop TT, a prototype of a “bullet train” designed in Spain that would connect Barcelona and Madrid in half an hour.

With diesel and petrol engines being banned in the European Union from 2035, manufacturers are betting solely on electric cars and alternative models to ownership, such as subscription or car sharing. There is also a growing dispute over the software that powers electric vehicles, with Android Automotive and Apple CarPlay platforms trying to prevail over car manufacturers’ developments.

4YFN consolidates its position as the engine of entrepreneurship

Following the end of other side events, 4YFN was the perfect complement to MWC 2023. This forum dedicated to entrepreneurship offers startups the opportunity to gain visibility and take advantage of the presence of thousands of international investors, venture capital talent scouts, and executives from large technology companies in Barcelona. This year, the 785 exhibitors and thousands of visitors made venue 8 of the Fira de Barcelona feel small, and there are already plans to expand the space in 2024.

Perhaps it will be in the new pavilion designed by Toyoo Itō, which will be built this year and will add 60,000m2 to the Barcelona space when it is completed in 2026. For now, at the next MWC 2024, which will take place from February 26 to 29 of next year, the organizers are already looking for ways to continue growing with new spaces for exhibitors.

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Dianne Vegas is Head of Consumer


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