We once again had the opportunity to attend Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  This is one of the highlights of the year for the mobile industry, as it brings together the most respected thought leaders, innovators, manufacturers and developers in the industry.  It’s always a dynamic and exciting event, and this year proved to be no different. Here’s an overview of what we saw and some of our observations and thoughts:

Overall themes of the MWC 2017 conference:

  • 5G fixed wireless field trials are starting up at nearly every major operator.  Most of these trials will be experimenting in the new 28 GHz Frequency Bands.
  • Wireless connectivity for IoT was touted across many technologies including  via cellular using CAT0/1 LTE  modems and via unlicensed band wireless based on technologies fromthe LoRA Alliance, Sigfox, Ingenue, and others.
  • Bandwidth Aggregation was an expanding topic of interest. The goal of this technology is to augment licensed LTE/5G cellular with simultaneous use of available unlicensed connections using the new LAA standard from 3GPP or via Wi-Fi.
  • SDN and NFV technology to virtualize cellular networks has been a topic for several years at MWC.  This year we are finally seeing tangible solutions arriving out of trials and into deployment.
  • Some new cellphones were launched but to little or no fanfare… no Samsung launch, and that is what the industry is looking for (since Apple never attends MWC).
  • We did see an impressive electro-optic camera zoom show by Sony, which seemed to be stellar in terms of quality.

What were the big takeaways from MCW 2017?

  • DATA, DATA, DATA: voice is dead as a driver in the industry, and there is a growing requirement for Bandwidth Aggregation to provide successful data delivery.  Where giving the end user the ability to optimize the use of all available networks used to be a great option, it’s quickly becoming a necessity for both providers and end users alike.
  • We are going to see a shift from a world where the consumer pays for two connectivity services (for example, fiber/cable and wireless) to paying just one single broadband wireless service provider that covers everything.
  • The cellular carriers will take on cable and fiber by having massive wireless broadband in the last 1000 feet.
  • The cable players will become mobile carriers using both their Wi-Fi assets and moving from an MVNO to acquiring spectrum and building out their own cellular networks.
  • Everyone will be using dense femto cell deployments.
  • The smart phone is becoming very tired. Only minor innovation is happening and much of that innovation is either useless or not finished.
  • The consumer app world is also becoming a bit long in the tooth with too many analytic or advertisement players.  We don’t see a lot of solutions that solve problems and offer a real value to the consumer end user.  Most of the valuable solutions are for enterprise and business apps. 
  • IoT is becoming a legitimate business. But our observation is that too many vendors are providing components of a system, and there are no end-to-end solutions for customers. We think vertical markets need vertically integrated solutions, which is why Carnegie Technologies is working diligently to develop those. 

In the end, we saw some things that interested us, and we saw some things that bored us.  But overall the industry has some really exciting times ahead of it, and we’re confident that Carnegie is on the right track to help the industry evolve, grow and provide the marketplace with products and services it wants and needs most.  We think Bandwidth Aggregation is going to be one of the most critical components to providers’ success, and our Network Convergence Platform is perfectly positioned to help deliver the faster speeds, higher reliability and smoother transitions across networks that will make providers more efficient and customers happier and more loyal.