Mobile World Congress (MWC) Las Vegas 2022

Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
September 28-30, 2022

Attendees: 8,200 including exhibitors and speakers (Organizer’s estimate)
Exhibitors: 351
Speakers: 329
Media/Analysts: Unreleased

Calysto’s Take

It was a new city and new venue for the North American edition of Mobile World Congress (MWC) which moved to the recently expanded Las Vegas Convention Center in 2022. The Americas event, called MWC Las Vegas this year, was held September 28-30 in the Convention Center’s 1.4-million-square-foot-expansion and state-of-the-art event space dubbed the West Hall. And, state-of-the-art it is. An innovative, underground transportation system designed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company – the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop – moved attendees across the LVCC campus in Tesla vehicles. An elevated, electric train system, the Las Vegas Monorail, made for a conveniently fast way of traveling between Las Vegas resorts and the Convention Center.

Las Vegas will be the new home for MWC Americas until at least 2024 per GSMA’s agreement with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The show is delivered in partnership with CTIA and is part of the GSMA’s annual series of MWC shows also in Barcelona, Africa and Shanghai.

MWC Las Vegas 2022 was back fully in-person with a reported 8,200 attendees. This was less than the anticipated 10,000, but double that of the scaled down 2021 Los Angeles event; in 2020, the show was cancelled due to the pandemic. There was a hybrid component as well. Keynotes and select sessions were livestreamed via Mobile World Live, the Official Broadcast Media Partner of the GSMA. Close to 2,300 viewers followed the keynote sessions online, according to the organizer. [For reference, GSMA’s MWC Barcelona event attracted 61,000 attendees in February 2022.]

This year’s show theme was “Connectivity Unleashed,” and the event once again was held in-person, but had a hybrid component as well. Three virtual keynotes allowed a few thousand additional attendees from around the world to learn more about the state of 5G connectivity, the emerging global partnership landscape and more. While the previous CTIA and MWC-A events have traditionally been focused on the service provider audience, it seems that GSMA is trying to pivot the show more towards the enterprise audience. One example: Following a successful launch at MWC Barcelona earlier this year, the Industry City area of the Vegas show exhibition floor featured a demo, networking and content zone, and showcased how FinTech, Manufacturing and the Smart Mobility industries are leading the way in connected technologies.

A Day One keynote also took a deeper dive into Vegas as not only the global entertainment capital, but also as a tech center. The mayor and CIO of the City of Las Vegas and the CFO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority joined connectivity and data center service providers to the city in a “Viva Tech Vegas” roundtable.

5G and IoT once again took center stage, but the content over the past two years has evolved to become much more granular. OpenRAN, eSIM, the “Internet of Everything,” ESG, decentralized wireless, mmWave, Private Networks, edge computing and more each got their time on the stage. The conversations surrounding these technologies have recently become less about infrastructure and more about customer applications that have been and are being deployed – and lessons learned.

A few of the major players were absent (Ericsson and Nokia among these), but a robust show floor hosted over 350 exhibits and a good line-up of keynote speakers and sessions that featured industry leaders from AT&T, AWS, T-Mobile and Verizon to name just a few. A Welcome Party, the VIP Lounge and the Hub Meet & Greet, Happy Hours and breakfasts allowed plenty of time for informal interaction.

The Buzz

A lot of the conversation surrounded what might be next for 5G – beyond smartphones and infrastructure. The search is on for the “killer 5G app.” Will it be related to smart cities, video gaming, retail, manufacturing, logistics or the trending metaverse? Private 5G networking was front and center as a number of vendors and carriers announced plans around this lucrative enterprise investment. The next big use case for 5G remains to be seen and will no doubt be a central focus at future MWC shows.

That matches up well with how SDx Central’s Dan Meyer described the event: “Nearly every discussion I had heading into the show and on site revolved around some form of private network or open RAN topic. Vendors like Cisco, Dell, Federated Wireless, and NTT all unveiled some form of private network news or updates that revolved around using 5G technology to power private networks for enterprise use. Carriers got in on the push as well, with T-Mobile US building a managed service layer to ride on its already launched private 5G network plans.”

Keynotes

Panel-style keynote presentations featured over a dozen industry leaders from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, AWS, Boingo, NTT and others. Show organizers, GSMA and CTIA, kicked-off Day One with presentations talking about ESG and the need for more spectrum.

5G: Are we there yet? While mobile operators predictably took the keynote opportunity to tout their company’s successes in 5G speed and innovation (Verizon executives, for example, announced new 5G home entertainment products and services), it was useful to hear about some of the challenges ahead, such as latency or the delay in sending and receiving information that is critical to Augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) applications. CTIA Chairman David Christopher sat down with Roger Entner from Recon Analytics for a candid discussion. The real benefits of 5G are likely years away, they argued. The industry is willing, but the technology is not there yet.

A “Viva Tech Vegas” roundtable, featuring city officials and service providers, touted Las Vegas as one of the country’s fastest-growing economies and an international hub for innovation and technology. NTT is currently deploying a private 5G network for the city designed to bring cutting-edge innovations to local businesses, government and schools and serve as a model for cities and businesses worldwide.

Content & Exhibition

Session content was good and comprised four tracks or themes: “5G Connect,” which explored all things 5G (experiences, ecosystems, business models); “Cloudnet,” the 5G network evolution; “Internet of Everything,” the next stage of IoT and the growing suite of connected devices, and “Tech Horizon” spotlighting the latest in tech innovation.

Sessions and presentations on Private 5G networking were popular, as was a one-day thought leadership summit called SATELLITE @ MWC Las Vegas that explored, among other aspects, how today’s satellite systems can collaborate with cellular service providers to bring 5G and IoT services to rural and remote areas. Collaborations and business opportunities are already proving to be promising. Recently, SpaceX and T-Mobile demonstrated satellite direct-to-cell connectivity that will allow T-Mobile customers to send messages via Starlink satellites.

Other special summits at the event delved into the technologies driving 5G: eSIM, OpenRAN, 5G mmWave and Smart Mobility.

New at MWC Las Vegas 2022 was a three-day exhibition called “Industry City” which made its original debut in Barcelona last February. Leaders from FinTech (Financial Technology), Manufacturing and Smart Mobility industries shared insights, trends, opportunities and innovative solutions surrounding digital currencies, security and 5G era technologies.

The MWC Partner Program hosted an invitation-only K-Metaverse Demo Day featuring selected K-Metaverse (Korean) companies using Metaverse and XR technologies to solve and manage global issues. The metaverse is fast becoming a common term in and strategy focus for many organizations. Presentations and sessions discussed how this innovative technology can change society for the better and explored concerns and challenges ahead.

Over 350 tech companies took over the new West Hall’s vast 600,000-square-foot exhibit space located on the first level of the three-level Convention Center. Boingo, Radisys, AWS, Airspan, IBM and Intel were just a few of the key exhibitors displaying their latest tech innovations. A curious, yet fascinating, NIPA K-Metaverse Pavilion grabbed a lot of attention, showcasing 28 Korean companies developing Metaverse and XR technology solutions.

Also on the show floor were areas carved out for The Hub start-up zone, the Industry City zone, Open Stage Tech Talks, Networking Lounge and meeting rooms.

Media & Analysts

Overall, MWC Las Vegas was good show for meeting industry analysts – both U.S. and European-based.

Mobile World Live, GSMA’s official media partner, livestreamed keynotes during the event and made these available on-demand after the event, each bookended by preview and wrap-up insights from industry experts. The group posted a number of video interviews with tech CxOs, daily show highlights and news.

MWC Las Vegas was an excellent springboard for press coverage. Announcements around 5G were flowing during the three-day event. Verizon and partner Qualcomm unveiled new products and services for 5G home entertainment. Total Network Services launched new cybersecurity technology. Fibocom revealed its next gen 5G Sub-6GHz and mmWave module series. NTT introduced climate-focused Sustainability as a Service. JimiIoT showcased its latest Internet of Things (IoT) telematics devices and cloud services. The list goes on.

Editors at Light Reading spoke with industry leaders on the show floor to get their take on industry innovations and trends. Samsung’s Derek Johnston, for example, discussed the company’s own 5G efforts in the US market, but also weighed in on general developments in open RAN, C-band buildouts and CBRS deployments. Ishwar Parulkar, AWS chief technologist for telecom and edge cloud, touted the company’s progress into the telecom industry as it works to convince telecom network operators to run core 5G network functions in the AWS cloud.

CRN, SDxCentral, Fierce Wireless, Tech Republic, Electronics360, EEJournal, CNET, Via Satellite, Microwave Journal, Total Telecom and EIN News were also among the media organizations publishing during the show.

Next up in the MWC series is MWC Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, this October 25-7, followed by MWC Barcelona February 27-March 2, 2023. MWC Las Vegas 2023 will be held again at the Las Vegas Convention Center September 26-28, 2023.

Articles of Interest

Satellite, Cellular ‘Convergence’ Takes Center Stage at Mobile World Congress Las Vegas
Via Satellite
Jeffrey Hill
October 3, 2022

ARE WE THERE YET? CTIA TALKS 5G CHALLENGES AT MWC
Total Telecom
Harry Baldock
September 30, 2022

Op-Ed: Private 5G, Open RAN Dominate Dour MWC LV
SDxCentral
Dan Meyer
September 30, 2022

Debating the role of hyperscalers in 5G
Light Reading
Mike Dano
September 30, 2022

Mobile tipped to set stage for metaverse
Mobile World Live
Mike Robuck
September 29, 2022

MWC Las Vegas 2022: 7 Telecom, 5G Offerings On Display
CRN
GINA NARCISI
SEPTEMBER 29, 2022

FWA is a success. Now the hunt is on for the next big 5G use case
Light Reading
Mike Dano
September 29, 2022

Finger gives thumbs up to Musk Loop tech
Mobile World Live
Kavit Majithia
September 29, 2022

Closing Digital Divide Needs ‘Inclusive Set of Solutions’
SDxCentral
Tommy Clift
September 28, 2022

5G Needs a Licensed Spectrum Pipeline
SDxCentral
Dan Meyer
September 28, 2022 3:55 PM

CTIA claims mobile is beating inflation crisis
Mobile World Live
Kavit Majithia
September 28, 2022

‘Connectivity Unleased’: MWC Las Vegas Kicks Off With Big 5G Focus
The InFocus Podcast
Adam Jacobson
September 28, 2022

MWC Preview: Hot topics will be eSIM, open RAN and mmWave
Fierce Wireless
Linda Hardesty
September 21, 2022

GSMA unleashes MWC on Las Vegas
Mobile World Live Blog
Mike Robuck
September 16, 2022

MWC Las Vegas 2022 Preview – Driving Back to Business
Microwave Journal
Pat Hindle
September 6, 2022

Top Moments on Twitter #MWC22

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To read Tradeshow Vibes from the ITEXPO 2022, click HERE.

To read Tradeshow Vibes from the Connect (X), click HERE.

To read Tradeshow Vibes from the Big 5G Event 2022, click HERE.

To read Tradeshow Vibes from this year’s International Telecoms Week (ITW) 2022, click HERE.

To read Tradeshow Vibes from this year’s Enterprise Connect 2022, click HERE.

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