This year’s Mobile World Congress was a hive of all things… well, mobile. There was much to ponder for service providers looking to stay at the cutting edge with the latest tech and solutions. Here are the five hottest topics from the event.



Ready or not, 5G’s one of the key themes around all things mobile and it got plenty of airtime at MWC. The awesome bandwidth offered by millimeter wave (MMW) technology and the benefits that will give enterprises and end users across the spectrum, were clear to see.

But the more forward thinking service providers are viewing 5G as a platform for new applications, not just the old ones done better.


Connected cities and the clear opportunities they offer service providers was another hot topic. These cities are so opportune for providers because they tend to have great connections with local governments and a strong grasp of what they need.

The shift in focus at the show was to ask how platforms can change these smart cities from grand one-offs to easily scalable plans. The view of the future is that
service providers need to be able to roll-out these smart communities in a few months rather than spending years bringing high profile, and sometimes loss-making, projects to market.


Service providers know that virtualization can make their businesses faster and more cost effective. But there was a fresh way of thinking at MWC. Instead of virtualizing one or two functions, do it to the whole workflow!

The task is to move the process from a tech capability to a business deliverable. It’s all about the shift from the technical idea of orchestration to the deliverable of automation and simplicity. Make the whole thing more operator friendly.


All of the background innovations that speed up networks and offer easy operability are of course great. But they don’t draw the eye like the wow factor of a real world application. With exhibitors showing off connected cars, virtual reality trips and new drones, there was plenty of razzmatazz.

Among all of the flying objects, new realities and clever cars, the truth below the surface was the vital role 5G will play in their evolution. High bandwidth will let virtual reality bloom. Drones and connected cars need total reliability to stay connected at all times. ¬With the new network, all of this will be possible.


In the words of one wise sage at MWC: “A network with high bandwidth but no security is like a two-legged stool!” People must be assured that the data they put over the network is secure. Ditto for the apps they use to do it. The networks have to offer security to deliver the revenue we all expect and make the investment worthwhile.

Tech developers now focus on putting security into the build. Today it’s thought of as a vital building block rather than an added extra. With that in place, new tech is free to fly. The future’s bright, the future’s secure.

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David Yates

as Director of Service Provider Video Marketing at Cisco