Huawei is sure to be a hot topic at next week’s MWC Shanghai.
The first MWC event on home ground since the US stepped up its campaign against the vendor is something which will rightly dominate discussions. But let’s hope it doesn’t overshadow what is unquestionably one of the best events in the GSMA’s calendar.
Evidence from the 2018 event suggests the furore won’t be the only talking point. At the time Huawei’s rival ZTE had just reached a deal to end a similar clampdown from the US, which had stopped its business in its tracks.
We’ll find out where the companies stand on the opening two days of the event: Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu headlines the second keynote on 26 June, with ZTE president Xu Ziyang taking the stage the following day.
The event is also timely for China’s mobile operators, coming hot on the heels of them receiving their 5G licences from the government.
China Mobile was first out the blocks in terms of awarding its initial vendor contracts for the technology, so expect chairman Yang Jie to elaborate on its plans during his keynote on the opening morning, in particular how the technology fits with the session’s Intelligent Connectivity theme.
Joining him are Ke Ruiwen, interim chairman and CEO of China Telecom, and Li Guohua, executive director and president of China Unicom, so we should come away with a good idea of where China stands in terms of 5G plans.
In fact, 5G will be everywhere at MWC Shanghai – the technology will cover all seven exhibition halls thanks to the three Chinese operators and vendor partners. Expect a bevy of 5G-enabled demos and activities onsite. And a live example of 5G-enabled tele-mentored surgery will be performed over a China Mobile 5G connection – expect that to be a highlight of Friday’s conference sessions.
Other stand-outs in terms of operator keynotes include Reliance Jio president Mathew Oommen and Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan, both due to speak from noon on the opening day.
Jio has shaken the Indian market since its entry in 2016, carving out a position as the country’s second-largest operator by subscribers. As rivals show signs of stabilising earnings, we’ll be looking for Oommen to outline strategies for maintaining its growth trajectory while funding network upgrades.
With Pakistani authorities only recently renewing operating licences for Telenor Pakistan and its rivals following lengthy delays, Khan may well touch on regulation in his presentation. Time and again we hear operators need certainty in this field to help justify investment in next-generation technologies and services, meaning the impact of any hold-up receiving even the basic operating licences in this case goes far beyond the operators themselves.
Equality and innovation
Another important strand to MWC Shanghai is the Women4Tech Summit. Well received during its first appearance at the event in 2018, the agenda has been expanded this year with discussion centred on the benefits improved gender diversity delivers to businesses.
Alongside the Women4Tech Summit keynotes and panels on 27 June are speed coaching and networking sessions, while on 28 June this programme links together with the 4YFN line-up of innovative start-ups.
4YFN is always an interesting and lively element of any MWC: in Shanghai more than 100 exhibitors are lined up to demonstrate how they’re employing technology in imaginative ways, with opportunities for businesses to secure funding from venture capitalists.
New this year is a C-Level programme that will bring business leaders from across the broader mobile ecosystem and vertical industries to tackle the big issues in the new digital era. A series of CEO activities including closed-door roundtables, keynote presentations and networking will be held on the first day of MWC Shanghai (26 June)
In total, more than 550 exhibitors are set to demonstrate how they’re putting technology into action.
Highlights include the Global 5G Immersion experience from China Mobile’s digital content subsidiary Migu; the Super Hall, focusing on cutting-edge services based on 5G, AI and IoT technologies; and the GSMA Innovation City, which will again focus on the latest application of mobile technology across a range of products and services.
And of course the Asia Mobile Awards are back this year. Affectionately known as the ‘AMOs’, 50 nominees have been shortlisted for ten awards across six categories, with 70 judges from almost 20 countries and regions picking winners. This year’s award categories include Mobile Tech; Consumer; Fourth Industrial Revolution; Social Good; Outstanding Achievement; Women4Tech – Asian Industry Leadership Award; and a 4YFN Shanghai award.
Mobile World Live will cover every inch of the show halls – we’re broadcasting live show coverage on huge screens throughout the venue (including every keynote and major CxO interviews) and our event page will bring you every news story and highlight video. Enjoy the show!
The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back