What to expect at MWC 2017?

Written by Kamil Arli

Tech Columnist Jeff Kagan published an article on the MWC 2017

So, what can we expect from Mobile World Congress 2017 next week in Barcelona, Spain? Looking at CTIA and CES, I expect to see plenty. All these conferences are a great barometer of the industry in transition as they show where we’ve come from, where are today and what’s coming next. They also help us look ahead.

MWC is like a larger and more worldwide version of CTIA. They both play an important role since every competitor needs to stay plugged into what’s here this year and what we can expect in coming years. This is important for all of us since the wireless industry is playing an increasing role in all our lives and industries.


If you are an investor, worker or executive, you want to steer your personal career or your company in new directions. You want to make sure you stay with the ever-changing growth wave that has become the wireless industry. If you zig when the market zags you could end up like Motorola, Nokia or BlackBerry. They missed the shift and fell off the growth track. These companies can still grow again, but now they must find a new and different path.

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As a wireless analyst, I have already had my share of prebriefings with companies in the space. Because there are so many companies at the show, getting on analyst and media radar is tougher than ever. Sure, they would rather wait until the show, but more so they would rather get on the radar of key media and analysts in hopes of getting attention.

What’s next in handsets

Will Apple and Google disclose anything new and interesting? What will Samsung do to rebuild after their terrible 2016, with the burning Galaxy Note 7 disaster? What about other companies like Huawei Mobile, HTC, Xiaomi, Lenovo – Motorola, LG, BlackBerry, Nokia, Oppo, ZTE and Sony?

All these companies are trying to either stay relevant or punch their way onto the map in the wireless industry that is continuing to evolve and to grow. Just think about how far we have come. We are now 10 years past the year the first iPhone and Android launched. The industry is ready for the next, big shift.

The next shift will actually come from many different areas like new technology that are starting to sweep across the wireless industry. Growth opportunities like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, the cloud, the internet of things and more will be on display. And every player wants to get on the radar as a leader in each of these sectors.

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Samsung hinted about AI several months ago after their Note 7 meltdown; the new Lenovo – Motorola smartphone uses AR technology; and I expect to see other handset makers moving in these same directions.

Unfortunately, this chaos and abuse by some companies will create a need for more regulation. That’s unless the industry can get itself under control. Just a friendly warning from someone who has watched this industry over the last 30 years. Consider yourself warned.

Smart homes, smart cities and smart cars are going to continue to transform other industries, wirelessly, and that will play a large role at the show. This is an exciting time in area after area that never had any connection to wireless in the past.

Mobile video, connected things and more are all so exciting. The next question is, who will win: new or old brands? The battle is on.

Payment technology is another rapidly growing and changing area. Apple Pay and Google Pay are newcomers threatening the existing space. Past leaders like PayPal are threatened by all this innovation and transformation. Who will win going forward?

AT&T Mobility, Kore and others in B2B and M2M

There are plenty of new growth areas in wireless. Consider the business-to-business space or machine-to-machine technologies. This is a different slice of the wireless pie from consumer technology and smartphones.

Current leaders are carriers like AT&T and private companies like Kore. They work in different areas and do not really compete, which gives them all the chance to grow. What changes can we expect?

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OpenFog Consortium creates architecture to eliminate latency of IoT, 5G and AI

OpenFog Consortium is another important, new idea that is growing. Started by a number of competitors, they focus on architecture to enable IoT, “5G,” AI and other advanced digital use cases where latency, network bandwidth and connectivity are a challenge. They focus on things like autonomous vehicles, smart cars, smart cities, smart buildings, smart energy, drones and more.

Wireless growth over the last decade has come from smartphones, but going forward will also come from other sectors as well. With all these new technologies and much faster speed, expect many new ideas to be born.

I expect the wireless industry to continue to grow and to change. I also expect leaders to come from a mix of new and existing brands. Choosing which will be winners and losers going forward is always difficult since the direction of industry growth often changes on a dime.

The marketplace has been built. Now it’s time for innovation and growth engines to kick into high gear. New technology is opening new doors to new growth. The growth we have seen in the last decade or two could be dwarfed by what we are about to experience. Get ready, the best is yet to come.

About the author


Kamil Arli

Editor of Digital Media Consultant

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