Nearly 22,000 attendees (including more than 2,000 CEOs and 225 media and analysts) from more than 100 countries attended Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles last week. Among the tens of thousands were a number of the BICS team, who returned to the annual telecoms event to discuss the developments and opportunities in the Americas.
As a global communications enabler, BICS has a strong presence in the region. We added to our New York and Miami offices by opening an office in San Francisco at the end of 2015, which helped bring us closer to the digital service provider community in the Silicon Valley and entire West Coast. More recently, in 2017, we extended the BICS family with our acquisition of LA-based TeleSign, creating the world’s first end-to-end communications as-a-service provider, and bridging the gap between the digital and traditional telecoms sectors.
Of course, this is just our office presence in the States: customers across the globe rely on our infrastructure to ensure their end-users stay reliably, consistently connected wherever in the world they are. Back to LA though, where BICS celebrated another successful MWC. We’ve since reflected on the news and views from the event, and picked three key learnings from this year:
Almost half of mobile connections will be running on new 5G by 2025
Although the likes of China and South Korea are arguably further ahead in terms of 5G deployments than the US, American players are catching up, and investing heavily in developing next generation networks. The GSMA released findings from its Mobile Economy North America report at MWC LA, which included predictions that 5G networks will account for 46% of North America’s mobile connections in by 2025, and the economic value of the technology will grow from $937 billion in 2018 to almost $1.2 trillion by 2023.
There are a number of cities across North America in which 5G services are currently available, however, coverage is limited to certain areas, and in some cases to business subscribers only. The GSMA’s report included some interesting findings, but there’s still some way to go before every subscriber is accessing the ultra-fast speeds of 5G on their smartphone.
GatorWings scooped $2 billion prize
Two professors, two Ph.D. students, and two undergraduate researchers from the University of Florida walked away from MWC LA with $2 billion in prize money. The achievement was the result of a three-year competition to unlock the potential the radio frequency spectrum using AI, and was awarded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
What was the win all about? Spectrum and, more precisely, the lack of it. Spectrum resources are limited, and GatorWings was able to demonstrate how spectrum-sharing and its AI-enabled radios could help maximise the value of spectrum and efficiently connect wireless devices in the future.
AI capabilities are set to deliver huge efficiencies across the telecoms market. In fact, BICS has been examining the benefits that digital, autonomous intelligence and learning can bring to fraud prevention – watch this space!
MWC LA was about more than just the Americas
MWC LA may be the American cousin to the larger MWC Barcelona, but the focus of the show went beyond the regional. Even with busy show schedules, I hope attendees at the show made some time to visit the GSMA Innovation City, an immersive experience which demonstrated how 5G and the IoT could impact and benefit the everyday lives of businesses and consumers. This covered areas like entertainment, transportation, public services, industry, cloud connectivity, and environmental sustainability.
Supporting this vision of a global, connected, better society, came the announcement of the findings of a new GSMA study. According to the report, the use of mobile data solutions in areas like disaster response, disease prevention, managing air pollution, access to healthcare, and financial inclusion could positively impact more than 150 million people over the next five years.
MWC LA highlighted just how important reliable, consistent, and high-quality mobile coverage is. Our towns and cities are getting ever smarter, our citizens better connected, and businesses and public services more digital, and to continue along this positive trajectory, BICS will continue to forge new partnerships and encourage greater collaboration on a global scale.