Tradeshow Vibes: The Big 5G Event 2022

The Big 5G Event 2022
Austin Convention Center

Austin Texas
May 16-18, 2022

Attendees: 1,300 in-person (3,000 Hybrid in summer 2021; 1,500 in-person in 2019)
Exhibitors: 30
Sponsors: 52
Speakers: 50
Media/Analysts: 65

Calysto Overview

The 5G Big Event returned to a fully live format in 2022! This relatively young conference was established in 2019 as a merger of Light Reading’s Big Communications Event and Informa Connect’s 5G North America.

This year’s Big 5G Event headlined as “America’s Foremost 5G Conversation” and is a leading conference for the service provider community and telecom professionals in North America. The 5G industry is finally taking off and promises to transform daily lives. 5G will radically improve wireless connections and data transfer rates that will power advanced technologies like mixed reality video, connected vehicles and so much more.

Parent company Informa reported 1,500 attendees at the 2019 show, the last fully in-person event. A hybrid format in 2021 is said to have drawn an estimated 3,000 virtual and in-person attendees, although exact figures and a break-out (online/on-site) was not released.

Finally back live and in-person in 2022, the Big 5G Event had approximately 1,300 attendees on-site, nearing the 2019 (pre-COVID) attendance.

“The return to in-person has given everyone a return to deeper, more candid conversations,” says Samuel Oakley, senior portfolio director at Informa Tech. “The ‘show corridor’ and by-passer conversations have returned and that was sorely missed. We’ve also heard from speakers how much better the experience is for them as they can better gauge the reaction of the audience to their sessions and focus more on areas where there’s more engagement –the audience is much more forthcoming with questions physically than virtually.”

Though it’s called Big 5G, this annual conference is a smaller event in the overall 5G arena since it’s heavily focused on North America, which is the target audience for the show’s sponsors and exhibitors. New players entering the market in the last three years (since the show last ran fully on-site) were very well-represented at the event. This makes the 5G Big Event an ideal platform for connecting and networking with colleagues and industry peers, discussing network strategy and getting expert insights on the latest 5G trends and technologies.

VIP dinners, show-floor drinks and a big show-party in downtown Austin allowed attendees to meet and greet in a more informal setting. An event app using AI-powered networking and scheduling helped attendees arrange meetings and optimize their time at the show. Senior execs took advantage of the Big VIP Program for additional help with introductions and relationship building. Full access to all recorded presentations are available on-demand after the event.

Whether you are a CXO from a leading company in the 5G industry, or a VP, director or manager influencing business decisions at your company, you’ll want to attend Big 5G next year. The buzz around the show was plentiful and the content superb. Architects, engineers and technical folks are also able to do deep dives and demo 5G products and services.

Keynotes, Tracks & Content

Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas, kicked off a series of keynotes on day one of the conference with the state of the 5G industry. Nearly a half billion 5G connections are projected by 2026 in North America, and a staggering 5 billion 5G connections globally.

Additional keynoters over the two-day event from T-Mobile, Ericsson, Dish Network, Amdocs, AT&T Labs, QCT, Netcracker, Juniper Networks, Boingo and others presented insights about the state of the 5G rollout, 5G network design, preparing for 5G Advanced & Release 18, the 5G metaverse, game-changing private networks, enterprise use cases, the 5G wholesale model, 5G & Edge Computing.

Keynote panels explored current 5G business models for enterprises in North America and how enterprise 5G will evolve in the next 2-3 years. Looking to the future: will Cable, Fiber, Satellite and 5G connectivity converge or collide?

There was plenty of content to choose from within five main conference tracks, covering 5G applications for consumers and the enterprise, private 5G networks, mobile edge computing, AI & network automation, RAN evolution, Open RAN, and cloud native telecom.

New in 2022 was a Fiber Access track with sessions on bringing fiber to the 5G network economically. Where is it needed? What are the challenges and opportunities at the tower, edge, small cell and municipality?

6G Summit

The Big 5G Event, along with ATIS’ Next G Alliance, was host to three one-day summits, including the 6G Summit, a specialist summit for mobile technology leaders to discuss the 6G market and roadmap in North America. Panel discussions and presentations from industry experts explored 6G advancements. What is 6G and why do we need it? What applications will drive the 6G transformation? What spectrum and bands should 6G use? And, of course, the looming ESG imperative; how will environmental, societal and governance factors shape the future of this 6th generation?

Omdia’s Chief Analyst, Camille Mendler, addressed Future 6G services and lessons we’ve learned from enterprise 5G, We’re entering a world of IoT, holographic telepresence, and collaborative robots. How does the 6G vision fit in?

Biggest Buzz Coming Out of the Show

Private wireless networking generated a lot of discussion among attendees at the Big 5G Event. The private 5G network opportunity is expected to be huge, including in the enterprise space. Retail, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment and manufacturing industries are prime targets. Communications vendors like Nokia, Ericsson, AT&T and Dish Network are among those competing for a share of this pie. Expect to see consolidation. There are challenges ahead and big questions remain. What use cases and industries will be first to adopt private wireless networking? Do customer expectations align with what the vendors are trying to sell?

Dish Network grabbed analyst’s attention at the show as a newer entrant into the wireless networking market. Called an “800-pound gorilla” and perhaps the most interesting story at the show, Dish is expected to be a formidable competitor as the company already has a huge amount of spectrum and has ambitious plans to expand into cloud-native, open RAN, voice over 5G and more. Industry watchers are keeping an eye on this one.

The race for 5G network coverage is on. T-Mobile plans to triple its network footprint this year. In 2023, this footprint will double again as the company aims to transform the 5G experience across the U.S. It’s “game on,” said Neville Ray, president of technology, T-Mobile, as he discussed T-Mobile’s 5G journey and the massive opportunity in the U.S. in his keynote “Powering the North American 5G Revolution.”

Just two years ago, T-Mobile and Sprint merged, and since then, there has been a phenomenal pace of innovation in terms of the scale, growth and capability of the new T-Mobile. The company says it is on a mission to be the 5G leader in the U.S. and has been streamlining T-Mobile and Sprint networks, aggressively rolling out 5G and rapidly moving customers to the new network and new experiences.

Customers are already enjoying 5G services like home internet, but Ray predicts Augmented Reality (AR) and the wearable space will be major use case for 5G.

Considered a “true trailblazer” in the industry, Ray took home Big 5G’s CxO of the Year award.

PR: Media & Analysts

Editors from Light Reading provided daily coverage at the show, including video interviews with key players in the North American 5G space. Check out this Light Reading Studio video interview with Michael Zeto from Boingo about the company’s converged networking solutions and opportunities in the market for private wireless networking.

A number of articles posted on Light Reading’s website covered top moments at the event and opinions on the latest 5G trends. See Articles of Interest below.

Additional media outlets covering the event included Fierce Wireless, Telecom Reseller, Urgent Communications, RCR Wireless News and TelecomTV. Analysts from Omdia, Heavy Reading and PrimeLine also participated.

Up Next

Big 5G Event 2023 is planned for May 15-17, 2023, at the Austin Convention Center, Austin Texas.

Articles of Interest

5G Open Innovation Lab links enterprises to new business benefactors
Light Reading
Kelsey Kusterer Ziser
May 23, 2022

From NFV to SaaS on the path to programmability
RCR Wireless News
Sean Kinney
May 20, 2022

The private wireless networking opportunity shouldn’t stay too private
Light Reading
Mike Dano
May 20, 2022

While Elon Musk’s on Twitter, the 12 GHz band coalition plays on
Fierce Wireless
Monica Alleven
May 19, 2022

T-Mobile: Our 5G network is open for wholesale business
Light Reading
Mike Dano
May 19, 2022

Here are 10 big broadband moments from the last 12 months
Light Reading
The Staff, Broadband World News
May 18, 2022

Verizon’s Miguel Carames: 5G and edge computing could make telecom cool again
Light Reading
Kelsey Kusterer
May 18, 2022

Dish is not wedded to AWS after all
Light Reading
Iain Morris
May 18, 2022

Here are 10 big 5G moments from the last 12 months
Light Reading
Mike Dano
May 17, 2022

Ericsson, Intel Form 5G Cloud RAN Tech Hub
Dan Meyer
May 17, 2022

6G has every chance of screwing the carriers
Light Reading
Morris Lore
May 17, 2022

T-Mobile US in 2022: It’s time to ‘finish what we started’
Sean Kinney
May 17, 2022

T-Mobile US throws down 5G gauntlet to slow-moving rivals
Light Reading
Iain Morris
May 17, 2022

Top Moments on Twitter


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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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