How has the MWC established itself as an unmissable event
for the industry? Well, the MWC has its roots firmly buried in
the technology that built GSM into the world's de facto standard
for cellular networks.
It's no coincidence that the show's patron is still the GSMA [GSM
Association]. However, the MWC show has deliberately mutated
away from just being about GSM and aims to be both platform
independent and truly global. Its closest competitor is possibly
the CTIA exhibition in the US, but even that show is not truly
global and displays very strong North American leanings,
according to one anonymous MWC exhibitor.
A group of leading industry vendors show their firm support for
the MWC by sponsoring it. The list includes Huawei, Comverse,
INQ, Mediatek, Tellabs, ZTE and Myriad, which sponsors the show's
best handset/device category. Myriad's marketing director, Kate
Hamilton, comments: 'More than any other industry, innovation is
extremely important in the mobile world. That's one reason why
Myriad chose to sponsor the show's prestigious best handset or
'At Myriad we want to show our dedication towards delivering and
encouraging innovation, and the best showcase for mobile
technology in the world is the Mobile World Congress show in
Barcelona. That's why we are attending and we'd encourage others
to do likewise.
Leading industry analyst Ben Wood from CCS Insight agrees: 'MWC
remains the most important event in the communications calendar.
It offers a chance to keep up to date on all the latest
developments in the industry and meet with key decision makers.
We still expect Mobile World Congress to be a key event in the
2010 communications calendar despite the challenging economic
The downside is that as an attendee you'll be just one of nearly
50,000 visitors. With so many exhibitors (circa 1,300), it's hard
to discern parts of the exhibition it might be well worth
visiting. So here's our guide to getting the best out of the MWC.
The Top 10 things to see at MWC
1 LTE (Long Term Evolution) - or 4G as some call it - will be a
major theme at the MWC in 2010. In particular, the infrastructure
suppliers like Ericsson, Huawei, Juniper Networks, Motorola,
Nokia Siemens Networks, Zinwave and ZTE will all be looking to
prove their expertise with this emerging technology. The MWC has
always proved to be a showcase for first-ever techno demos and in
2010 LTE is the prime candidate.
2 Mobile applications are another hot topic. So, new for 2010,
the GSMA is launching App Planet. This aims to bring application
developers, network operators, handset manufacturers, OS vendors,
venture capitalists and entrepreneurs together to advance the
state of the art mobile software. Firms sponsoring App Planet
conferences include Sony Ericsson, RIM, Vodafone and the Wireless
3 Every year sees new technological developments and the MWC
offers the leading test and measurement providers with the ideal
opportunity to prove their ability to validate vendors' claims.
Particularly pertinent is the ability to test the leading edge
technologies. For example, equipment manufacturer Anritsu and
testing house, Cetecom, are closely co-operating on testing LTE
handsets (rather than infrastructure). Both will be exhibiting
at MWC. Other exhibitors include AT4 wireless, which specialises
in evaluating Bluetooth low energy. Leading test and measurement
specialists at the show will include Aeroflex, Agilent,
KATHREIN-Werke and Rohde & Schwarz.
4 Femtocells are due to make a big splash at the MWC. Only two
operators launched femtocells in 2009 - SFR and Vodafone. 'These
services have been marketed to consumers as devices that provide
comprehensive in-home coverage for voice calls and data
services,' says David Nowicki, a VP for product marketing with
Airvana. MWC will provide an opportunity to find out how
femtocells apply to business. Nowicki claims: 'Femtocells can be
deployed in an enterprise or small business to provide cheaper
calling plans and improved access to mobile broadband.' Other
major suppliers of femtocells exhibiting are Ubiquisys and
5 One technology set to unleash its full potential in 2010 is
Near Field Communication (NFC). A sign of NFC's increasing
maturity came when Nokia sold its share in NFC services provider
Venyon to Giesecke & Devrient (exhibiting) so the handset
manufacturer could concentrate on building more NFC devices. A
spokesperson for Danish analysts Strand Consult comments:
'Looking at NFC, we think it will start slowly in 2010, but
during Q3 and Q4 we will see an increasing number of handsets
with built-in NFC.' France's Sagem will be among the NFC capable
handset vendors at MWC.
6 Some of the leading exponents of WiMAX will be attending the
MWC. The list includes Starent, Red Bend Software, Saguna
Networks, Kyocera and Coiler. There's also a WiMAX hospitality
suite in hall 3.
7 The latest in antenna products are always a major feature at
the MWC show. Among over 30 leading suppliers attending are Radio
Frequency Systems, PCTel, Ace Antenna, Argos Technologies,
E-Blink and Antenova.
8 The leading in-building wireless solutions providers will be
exhibiting at the MWC such as Axell Wireless and Zinwave. These
vendors provide radio coverage solutions for road and railway
tunnels, in-building and infrastructure projects.
9 The MWC provides a great chance to catch up with the latest
developments in Push-to-Talk (PTT). Among PTT exhibitors will be
Azetti Networks, whose Presence service is fully OMA and 3GPP
standards compatible. Its products work with Nokia and other
handset vendors' products.
10 The dark horse at this year's MWC could well be Bluetooth low
energy. Forget about connecting handsets to headsets, this
version of Bluetooth goes up against diverse technologies such as
barcodes, RFID tags and even NFC. It already has demonstrable
applications in the medical field but it has potential in many
business areas. Look for Nokia (its main supporter), Broadcom,
CSR and ST to provide demonstrations.
Typical among the MWC's most enthusiastic supporters is Aircom,
which won the GSM Best Radio Access Product award in 2006.
According to group marketing manager Jo McLean: 'We have an
excellent CRM system and can track back to measure how much
business can be attributed to our presence at the Congress. We
are already 33% over target.' The company also found that when
its CTO, Ricky Watts, spoke at the show, attendance at its stand
increased significantly. Overall, there are some compelling
reasons to attend MWC 2010.