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Reviewing Barcelona: two focal points from MWC24


Another Mobile World Congress is in the books, and by all accounts another successful event. It certainly was for us, and for eCS’ clients too. In this blog, we’ll wrap things up by looking at a couple of key themes that emerged from the telco industry’s leading event.

Networks APIs… as we’ve already said!

In terms of the first of those, the rise of network APIs, we could reasonably claim to be ahead of the game since our blog on the subject (Is it time for API monetisation?) appeared as long ago as last August, a good six months before the chatter began in Barcelona! Presentations and exchanges at MWC underlined our conclusion that telcos must, and are now, looking for ways to innovate and attract new revenue growth, and network APIs are one way to do that. Use cases were presented in Barcelona and, as one analyst noted, the choice telcos face is stark; become a low-value utility or a true digital service provider.

APIs are a step towards the latter with evidence that many major operators keen to develop and expose a growing number of APIs as a means to monetise their 5G networks. Among those, big names like Telefonica, Orange, DT, and Vodafone led the way utilising the GSMA Open Gateway Initiative to provide developers with access to operator networks to build network APIs. Use cases showed, among other things, how APIs can be used for high-quality telepresence and to support fraud prevention.

In fact, the topic of APIs was significant enough that is was mentioned by more than one keynote speaker. Perhaps that’s no surprise. The GSMA states that nearly 50 mobile operator groups, representing some 65% of global connections, have now signed up to the Open Gateway initiative.

Artificial Intelligence dominates (who’d have thought it?)

The second dominant theme at MWC24 was – no surprise here – Artificial Intelligence, another topic we’ve anticipated and covered in our recent blogs (AI: This is just the beginning). AI was literally the oxygen fuelling the event in Barcelona and while the hype still outstrips the reality, it will in time fulfil its potential.

In Barcelona, conversations about AI were ubiquitous, on the show floor, in demos, in discussions and debates, and in keynotes.  Likely in tapas bars and watering holes too.

How is AI manifesting? One use case showed how AI can be used in the network operations centre to extract focused and usable information from large, complex data sets, changing network configurations to, for instance, improve Quality of Service without needing to involve multiple analytics sub-systems. While it’s true that executing this sort of use case remains nascent for now, the technology required to power it is real and it’s only a matter of time before AI becomes a dominant part of the infrastructure landscape.

Arguably, events like MWC will help speed things up. AI (and Generative AI in particular) require significant investment so telcos will want to identify the most likely-to-be-effective use cases before they commit. Given the extent to which AI-driven solutions were showcased in Barcelona, the event may serve as a push in the right direction.


MWC was, as always, the first major event of the telecoms year. To see what’s coming up next, check our telecoms events calendar and, for those shows you’re planning to attend, please get in touch to discuss how we can help you maximise the RoI from your marketing investment. MWC24 got things off to a great start and demonstrated how the industry is on the cusp of significant change. Given the key themes that emerged, there’s good reason to keep reading the eCS blog to stay ahead of the learning curve.

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