What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2015

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-02-08

The mobile telecoms world’s annual lovefest kicks off in Barcelona in less than a month, with Mobile World Congress 2015 poised to be the biggest and most eventful MWC yet – building still further on the conference and exhibition’s tremendous success in previous years.

Organizers the GSMA estimate there will be 84,000 telecoms executives, hailing from just about every country in the world, taking advantage of the mobile world’s top networking opportunity. While the panels and side events are important, Barcelona is the place to be for networking.

There will be more than 1,900 exhibitors at the show, which runs from March 2 to 5. They will be displaying their wares in nine pavilions, one more than last year, with a total floor space of 98,000 sq m (or the equivalent of 13.5 football pitches).

There are 20 confirmed keynote speakers from different mobile industry sectors at the four-day conference program, ranging from the CEO of Telenor Group and GSMA Chairman Jon Fredrik Bakass to the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, the head of the Mozilla Foundation Mitchell Baker to Ken Hu and Hans Vestberg, the CEOs of Huawei and Ericsson respectively. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is likely to confirm his return to the show. Titles of Keynote speeches include The Road to 5G, Operators on the Edge of Innovation, Keys to the Connected Lifestyle, The Seismic Spectrum Shake-Up and The New Mobile Identity

Also running through all four days of MWC are a series of seminars examining developments in the latest industry and GSMA initiatives. Topics will include Personal Data, Connected Living, Digital Commerce, Network 2020, Spectrum and other matters. The GSMA also organizes the Ministerial Program, an invitation-only event on public policy. Meanwhile exhibitors run their own “partner” programs of demonstrations, presentations and seminars.

Running alongside MWC at the Fira Monjuic venue, and free to all Congress attendees is international start-up event 4 Years From Now (4YFN). It has more than 150 speakers, 44 sessions, 40 workshops and 3,600 sq m of exhibition space. The themes of the three days are Disrupted by Mobile, Internet of Things and Digital Media. 4YFN aims to bring together the best mobile start-ups and entrepreneurs with investors, accelerators and incubators.

One of the highlights of the show is the Global Mobile Awards, the Oscars of the telecoms industry. To mark 20 years of Global Mobile Awards the GSMA has introduced two special new categories, Young Mobile Innovator of the Year and Connected Women – Leadership in Industry. There are also a number of new awards for the hottest and most topical industry areas including the Internet of Things (IoT), Wearables, and Mobile Identity. In total there are 42 awards in nine categories, and the winners will be announced on Tuesday March 3, at a ceremony in Hall 4, Auditorium 1 from 2.30 pm.

There is no single main theme at MWC this year, but certain topics do crop up time after time in the conference, seminars, partner programs, awards and exhibition space including the IoT, 5G, apps, wearables, smart cloud solutions and “green” products.

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