King Felipe opens World Mobile Congress in Spain’s Barcelona

OVER 80,000 people are expected to attend Barcelona’s World Mobile Congress(WMC) over the next four days, after it was officially opened on Monday by King Felipe.

The event, which will remain in the Catalan capital until at least 2030, is the major international showcase for new technologies.

Though mobile phone gadgets are present, the WMC has evolved to feature a whole range of intelligent connectivity devices at the Gran Via venue within the Fira de Barcelona.

The MWC is still recovering after the Covid pandemic, with the anticipated 80,000 visitors still down on the 2019 total of 109,000- largely down to fewer travellers from Asia.

Firms like Huawei, Nokia and Samsung will show off their latest innovations, along with smartphone manufacturers like Oppo and Xiaomi and network operators including Orange, Verizon and China Mobile.

“We are at the doors of a new change of era driven by the intersection of Telco, Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Web3,” said Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, boss of Telefonica and current chairman of industry body GSMA, which organises the WMC.

He promised the telecoms industry would be at the forefront of the ‘tsunami of innovation’, adding: “Without telcos there is no digital future.”

There are issues though to be grappled with, as smartphone sales last year slumped by 11.3% compared with 2021, according to the IDC consultancy.

Research firm Gartner is predicting that sales of smartphones, tablets and computers will fall again by 4% this year.

Network operators are also struggling to make 5G pay, years after they spent billions in government auctions for the right to use the bandwidth.

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