As many 88,500 from 150 countries attended MWC Barcelona 2023

By Muhammad Sudhir Chaudhry
MADRID: Last week the GSMA welcomed more than 88,500 attendees to MWC Barcelona 2023, the world’s largest and most influential connectivity event. The GSMA Ministerial Programmed convened with the highest number of delegations ever, with 196 delegations from over 150 countries, nearly 70 ministers and over 100 heads of regulatory authorities.

The event theme “Velocity” was brought to life in key themes discussed across multiple platforms said spokesman of event. These included 5G, AI, the fair share debate and public policy, as well as cross-sector collaborations, including the GSMA’s Open Gateway initiative. The GSMA also launched a dedicated zone at MWC Barcelona to raise awareness of the usage gap, an under-reported global issue which prevents 3.2 billion people worldwide from reaping the benefits of access to digital services.
GSMA Europe is pleased to share with you some of the key highlights from this exceptional event.

The opening MWC Barcelona keynote was not to be missed with Mats Granryd, GSMA Director General, and Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Chairman & CEO of Telefónica, focusing on the new era for the connectivity industry and the launch of much anticipated the GSMA.
Orange CEO Christel Heydemann delivered a dour summary of the crunch being felt by Europe’s mobile operators, with contradictory pressures to meet ever-rising traffic, mostly originating from large digital players, while keeping prices low and squeezing costs. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton outlined his vision for the future of telecoms and presented what is next for the fair share debate in Europe.

Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges highlighted disparities between the European mobile market and its global counterparts, including a 5G coverage rate of 73 per cent compared with 96 per cent in the US and around 90 per cent in Asia Pacific and argued that enabling operators to capitalise on their investments would bring broad benefits in terms of digitalisation and even for the environment, citing the lower power consumption of 5G networks relative to earlier generations.
Telecom Italia CEO Pietro Labriola urged a relaxation of rules imposed on operators in Europe and called for the creation of a level playing field with digital providers and more openness to consolidation, while airing grievances about an industry requirement to switch off legacy systems.

At the Ministerial Programme, GSMA Europe met with a number of delegations, including: German State Secretary for Digital and Transport Stefan Schnorr; Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra de Sutter; BEREC; the Ukrainian National Regulatory Authority; the European Commission; and representatives from Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

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