Following the return of in-person MWC21 events in Shanghai and Barcelona, attendees, exhibitors and speakers are now preparing for MWC21 Los Angeles which runs from 26 October to 28 October.

Along with event partner CTIA, the GSMA put a strong focus on safety protocols and will require all attendees to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 (coronavirus) test which is less than 72 hours old each time they enter the Los Angeles Convention Centre (LACC).

Attendees can use the CLEAR Health Pass app to upload their Covid-19 health details before arrival. The GSMA is also implementing touchless environments, testing, social distancing and mask protocols among other methods to deliver a safe event.

GSMA CMO Stephanie Lynch-Habib told Mobile World Live (MWL) MWC21 LA safety protocols incorporate “lessons learned from our Shanghai and Barcelona events”. She also acknowledged key roles played by the LACC, the LA Tourism Board and CLEAR in creating a safe environment.

Broad participation
Despite the popularity of virtual events during the pandemic, demand for in-person meetings is strong. More than 100 companies will exhibit in the LACC’s South Hall including Dell Technologies, IBM, Red Hat, AMD, KORE Wireless Group, JMA Wireless and Palo Alto Networks. And big names including Rakuten Group, Amdocs, Boingo Wireless, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, Vodafone Business, Syniverse, Intel, Mavenir and Accenture will hold meetings.

“Industry-leading brands, policymakers, investors, telecom operators and influencers in the broader ecosystem will be together and in person at the LACC”, Lynch-Habib told MWL.

“This event is the last in the series for 2021 and I’m proud that through the most difficult and complex circumstances, the GSMA has welcomed people back to in-person events. We learned so much in the past 18 months but, I’ve missed the energy of being with colleagues”.

Visionaries from inside and outside the mobile industry are due to deliver keynotes at MWC21 LA.

Speakers include T-Mobile US president of technology Neville Ray; AT&T EVP and general manager David Christopher; Verizon chief revenue officer Sampath Sowmyanarayan; and GSMA director general Mats Granryd.

Also on the roster are CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker; Boingo Wireless CEO Mike Finley; Boston Dynamics chief sales officer Mike Pollitt; IBM fellow, VP and CTO for edge computing Rob High; Romil Bahl, president and CEO of KORE Wireless; basketball team LA Clippers’ president of business operations Gillian Zucker; and Erik Greupner, chief of baseball team San Diego Padres.

MWL is the exclusive streaming partner for the event.

Under a theme of Connected Impact, topics of discussion include the 5G era, IoT connectivity, disruptive innovation and telecom cloud, a subject GSMA Intelligence head Peter Jarich predicted to be a standout.

“US-based operators and cloud players have been super active on this front”.

“Perhaps more important, our research shows a focus on public cloud to be a key network transformation priority for operators around the world”.

Jarich noted the telecom cloud moniker connects a number of other themes during MWC21 LA including edge, open RAN and 5G.

5G comes of age
More than 113 operators across 48 countries have now deployed 5G, and the next-generation technology has its own official event partner at the show, Verizon.

As 5G architectures permeate mobile networks, the vendor ecosystem is coming together to help operators keep pace with innovation while controlling costs. Achieving this balance will be the topic of a panel featuring speakers from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Qualcomm, Radisys, Palo Alto Networks, Movandi and Xilinx.

While operators compete vigorously in their home markets, cross border cooperation is a cornerstone of technical progress, as exemplified by the 5G Future Forum (5GFF).

At MWC21 LA, representatives from Verizon, Vodafone, Rogers Communications and Google will update attendees on 5GFF’s work to accelerate the adoption and development of a global, interoperable multi-access edge computing set-up.

Connected impact
Mobile technology plays a role in sustainability, political discourse and connecting underserved members of society to resources. Operator Millicom is set to use a keynote to focus on disruptive innovation, and its relation to technology and new business models.

“Technology forums such as MWC21 LA contribute to our commitment of reducing the digital divide we are still facing in our markets”, Millicom CTIO Xavier Rocoplan told MWL.

Also on the agenda are discussions on IoT in healthcare; mobile technology and sustainability; public safety connectivity; smart cities; bridging the US digital divide; and using connectivity to reduce carbon footprints.

In all, more than 120 experts and industry leaders from industries spanning mobile, robotics, cloud and sports are confirmed to speak in the conference sessions.

Representatives from Facebook IQ, AT&T, Millicom and ServiceNow will speak in a panel on new methods which are shaking up the industry hosted by Robert Yates, co-president of consultancy Lemay-Yates Associates.

Open RAN is currently one of the most disruptive innovations in the wireless industry and is sure to be a hot topic at MWC21 LA.

GSMA head of technology for North America Carlos Bosch will host 15 speakers from across the industry at the Open RAN Summit, sheduled to take place on 27 October.

Vendors in the open RAN space hope to be busy in the exhibition hall too, showcasing and explaining their technologies in face-to-face meetings.

Eugina Jordan, VP of marketing at Parallel Wireless, told MWL it has a full diary of meetings with customers and partners seeking information on “how open RAN deployments can be accelerated”.

And a brace of leading analysts including Jarich, Emma Mohr-McClune of GlobalData and Ken Rehbehn of CritComm Insights are lined up to discuss the key takeaways of MWC21 LA in a panel moderated by Cohere Technologies SVP and CMO Ronny Haraldsvik on 28 October.

Follow all of Mobile World Live‘s exclusive coverage of MWC LA next week here.