MWC was back to almost full strength in 2023, with nearly 90,000 visitors creating excitement and buzz that belied the ongoing macro challenges blighting the tech industry. The event theme of “Velocity” brought forth discussions across multiple areas including 5G, AI, private networks, digital transformation, eSIM, sustainability and, again, fair share.
Network and infrastructure announcements dominated the show, although there was also a major undercurrent of ways to finally monetise 5G effectively. AI seemed to be moving from concept to reality, featuring in some of the most intriguing and impressive demos, but augmented and extended reality devices, while present on many stands, showed how far the technology still needs to progress before reaching mass adoption.
And, of course, there was the usual slew of smartphone announcements, mostly from Chinese OEMs, although this once key side of MWC was somewhat muted given the decision by some vendors to separate their flagship launches from the show.
Lastly, and a theme that underpinned almost every aspect of MWC, was sustainability, indicating that the industry seems to have finally accepted the critical need to act now to reduce its environmental impact.