Cristina Data at the Mobile World Congress 2022

Five themes from this year’s Mobile World Congress

Published: 9 March 2022
Last updated: 16 March 2023

Using technology to tackle climate change, 5G innovation and the expanding metaverse were all headline themes from this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), which took place in Barcelona last week.

The annual showpiece shines a light on the latest technology that’s shaping the wireless industry – bringing together technology experts, world-leading manufacturers and policy-makers. After two years of disruption to in-person events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 60,000 people from nearly 200 countries headed to Barcelona for this year’s event.

Ofcom’s Sachin Jogia (Chief Technology Officer), Yih-Choung Teh (Group Director of Strategy and Research) and Cristina Data (Director of Spectrum Policy and Analysis) were among them, and here’s what they saw as the standout themes from across the week:

Technology to tackle climate change: Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI) are among the technologies that could be used to gather more scalable data on the effect of climate change, which industries can then use to help decarbonise their operations. AI was also seen by many as critical to reducing networks’ energy consumption.

Expanding the metaverse: a number of tech firms are starting to build a bigger presence in the metaverse and explore how this virtual world can benefit people and businesses. It was no different at MWC, where the importance of faster, more reliable connections across entire nations was highlighted as critical to its future success – given how bandwidth-hungry these applications will be.

Sachin and Yih-Choung at the Mobile World Congress 2022

Sachin Jogia (Chief Technology Officer) and Yih-Choung Teh (Group Director of Strategy and Research) grab a quick selfie during a busy week at the Congress.

Digital solutions, to physical problems: this involves platforms identifying ways to use ‘digital twins’ – digital versions of real-life situations, which can be used to overcome physical challenges such as diagnosing problems with large machinery or even performing remote surgery. It allows experts to solve problems from afar – even if thousands of miles away and across oceans.

Future 5G uses: private 5G networks – which large factories and other industrial sites could use for their own wireless services – were the talk of the town in Barcelona. Many expect there to be huge growth in this in the coming years, with mobile networks and major tech firms likely to offer services. And access to cloud and edge solutions are becoming critical for networks, to offer greater capacity and reduce the latency of connections for people and businesses

Open for OpenRAN: exhibitors showcased how OpenRAN technology – which enables companies to build their networks more flexibly using multiple equipment providers – can help diversify the industry’s supply chains. Check out our explainer on what OpenRAN is and why it matters for more.

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