LIVE FROM MWC21 BARCELONA: Mats Granryd, director general at the GSMA (pictured) welcomed back in-person and virtual attendees to Barcelona for the first MWC in the city since 2019, emphasising the power and influence of the mobile industry as it continues to play a crucial role during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
In his keynote to open the show, Granryd said it was breathtaking to be in the auditorium with conference goers and equally extraordinary to have thousands joining virtually, after the health crisis forced the GSMA to cancel the 2020 edition of the mobile mega-show.
However, with the company and the industry now “back to business, back to Barcelona and back together”, Granryd was keen to showcase how important and influential mobile had become, underpinned by the era of intelligent connectivity combining 5G, AI, IoT and big data.
By the end of 2021, 5G networks will cover a fifth of the global population, he said, while backing mobile to completely transform enterprises, generating an additional $700 billion in revenue per year for the industry by 2030.
The three C’s
Lofty projections aside, Granryd believes three key conversation themes will emerge from MWC21 Barcelona, with industry players putting the focus on how to challenge the present, champion the future and care for the world.
On the first, Granryd noted there was a global acceleration of hate, anti-science, anti-truth, isolation, violence and “even the crazy claim that 5G is the cause of the pandemic”.
He said the industry “stands firmly” for facts, science and trust in technology, for diversity and inclusion and interoperability, as part of its bid to resist the threat of a technological divide.
Looking ahead, Granryd said the industry had always successfully forecast the needs and behaviours of people, businesses and societies everywhere, as well as continually investing and innovating, which was evidenced by the fact “the pandemic had little impact on current 5G momentum”.
Going forward, he said innovation and investment would continue, with $900 billion to be spent on networks between now and 2025, roughly 80 per cent of which would be on 5G.
Finally, he pointed to the industry’s work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), achieving net zero carbon emissions and pushing additional green initiatives as showing how the industry demonstrates its care for the world.
“As an industry, we lift significantly more than we weigh. We punch well above our weight.”
However, he added there was still work to be done on driving digital inclusion, with a usage gap of 3.4 billion people globally who live in areas covered by mobile broadband, but not using mobile internet.
“Today, I urge our partners, public and private, to invest at the same level as the mobile industry, to help bridge this usage gap.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back