March 14 2019: More than 109,000 visitors from over 198 countries and territories attended Mobile World Congress (MWC19) Barcelona, the mobile industry’s premier event. Over 55 percent of this year’s MWC attendees held senior-level positions, including more than 7,900 CEOs.
Ushering in the Era of Intelligent Connectivity: Attendees explored the era of Intelligent Connectivity; the overarching theme of MWC’s 2019 events that describes the powerful combination of flexible, high-speed 5G networks, IoT, AI and big data. Intelligent Connectivity marks the beginning of a new era, defined by highly contextualised and personalised experiences, delivered as and when you want them, shaping the future of our industry and our world as new innovations intelligently connecting everything and everyone to a better future.
Mobile Live TV
Mobile World Live TV, which provides telecommunications content throughout MWC, marked the first trial of 5G live broadcasting at the event. This year’s broadcasts were supported by Samsung’s 5G network, enabling true seamless transmission without latency over the entire five days.
The GSMA introduced its facial recognition service BREEZ (Biometric Recognition Easy Entry Zone). Participation in BREEZ allowed contactless entry for attendees, meaning that they did not need to show their ID or have their badge scanned in order to enter the event at venue entry points and restricted area
The GSMA announced the release of a new report highlighting the significant progress made by Chinese mobile operators, vendors and manufacturers in adopting Remote SIM Provisioning and eSIM technologies. The in-depth report which is titled “eSIM in China: the road ahead” and was prepared by GSMA Intelligence in partnership with the Telecommunication Terminal Industry Forum Association (TAF), draws on fresh insights from China’s three mobile operators – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom – as well other companies from the wider mobile ecosystem1 and highlights developments particularly in the consumer electronics and IoT sectors.
Smartwatches Dominate eSIM Deployments; Smartphone Adoption Will Take Time
Smartwatches with eSIM technology are gaining momentum in China supported by products from numerous vendors. Although eSIM smartwatches still account for a small percentage of total smartwatch ownership this is likely to increase in the future. To drive adoption, Chinese operators are also allowing consumers to use their smartwatches as secondary devices with one mobile subscription. Despite creating smartphones for the global market, the Chinese domestic market has not formally adopted eSIM technology which will require appropriate regulation and new manufacturing, logistical and supply chain processes. Globally, over fifty mobile operators already support eSIM functionality in smartphones.
Global Adoption of eSIM Technology
The report highlights that there have been significant developments in the global eSIM ecosystem over the past two years with more than 90 mobile industry players supporting the GSMA’s specifications for Remote SIM Provisioning of consumer devices around the world. All are aligned behind a single, defacto approach avoiding industry fragmentation and interoperability issues, driving global developments and allowing consumer choice. While smartwatches were the first mass market product to adopt the technology, there is now growing implementation of eSIM functionality in tablets, laptops, notebooks and smartphones (e.g. Google and Apple). The automotive industry is also at the forefront of eSIM deployments and built-in connectivity is also now a specific requirement in Europe following the European Emergency Call (eCall) initiative.
New GSMA Study: 5G to Account for 15% of Global Mobile Industry by 2025
5G is on track to account for 15 per cent of global mobile connections by 2025, as the number of 5G network launches and compatible devices ramps up this year, according to a new GSMA report. The 2019 global edition of the GSMA’s flagship Mobile Economy report series – published at MWC Barcelona 2019 – reveals that a further 16 major markets worldwide will switch on commercial 5G networks this year, following on from the first 5G launches in South Korea and the US in 2018. It is calculated that mobile operators worldwide are currently investing around $160 billion per year (capex) on expanding and upgrading their networks, despite regulatory and competitive pressures.
The new report reveals that:
- The number of 5G connections will reach 1.4 billion by 2025 – 15 per cent of the global total1. By this point, 5G is forecast to account for around 30 per cent of connections in markets such as China and Europe, and around half of the total in the US;
- 4G will continue to see strong growth over this period, accounting for almost 60 per cent of global connections by 2025 – up from 43 per cent last year;
- The number of global IoT connections will triple to 25 billion by 2025, while global IoT revenue will quadruple to $1.1 trillion;
- One billion new unique mobile subscribers2 have been added in the four years since 2013, bringing the total to 5.1 billion by the end of 2018, representing about two thirds of the global population;
- More than 700 million new subscribers are forecast to be added over the next seven years, about a quarter of these coming from India alone;
- An additional 1.4 billion people will start using the mobile internet over the next seven years, bringing the total number of mobile internet subscribers globally to 5 billion by 2025 (more than 60 per cent of the population).
The new report ‘The Mobile Economy 2019’ is authored by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA. Access the full report and related infographics, here: www.gsma.com/mobileeconomy/.