Bigger, bolder MWC Las Vegas comes to town
The second edition of MWC Las Vegas is poised to welcome more than 350 exhibitors and sponsors and over 10,000 attendees next week as topics such as generative AI, enterprise mobility and 5G evolution dominate headlines.
GSMA Ltd CEO John Hoffman told Mobile World Live (MWL) the MWC Las Vegas theme of ‘Velocity: Unleashing tomorrow’s technology today’ carried over from MWC Barcelona and other events this year.
“Bigger, better, faster is the name of the game and our ecosystem is not always known for being the fastest,” he said. “Anything we can do to help accelerate this is going to be viewed very positively.
“It is a global show, and we’ll reach across the globe for attendees and exhibitors, but at the end of the day it’s a North American and Latin American flavoured event.”
In partnership with CTIA, the conference will be hosted in the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre across 297,000 square-feet of space.
Hoffman told MWL that Las Vegas checked all of the boxes for the conference moving from Los Angeles last year, including the West Hall opening in 2021, hotels within walking distance of the convention centre, the local entertainment industry and the city becoming a tech hub.
“We were extremely happy with last year, and we think this year is going to be even better,” he stated.
A GSMA report noted the US and Canada were among the global leaders in terms of 5G adoption. By 2025, 5G will account for almost two thirds of total mobile connections across North America, which is equivalent to nearly 280 million connections.
GSMA CMO Lara Dewar told MWL all three of the largest US operators will be in attendance for the first time in Las Vegas. AT&T Business, T-Mobile US for Business and Verizon Business Group will take part in various keynotes during the conference.
Speakers from inside and outside the mobile industry are due to deliver keynotes at MWC Las Vegas including: Hardmon Williams, SVP of AT&T Business; CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker; T-Mobile US SVP and CTO John Saw; and CTIA chair and Carolina West Wireless CEO Slayton Stewart
“I always try to catch some of what Meredith and her team has to say about policy,” Hoffman added, while also noting he was interested in hearing about the US Department of Defence’s use of 5G.
Also on the policy front, FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks will deliver a keynote address.
Additional keynote speakers include: GSMA director general Mats Granryd; Verizon Business Group SVP and CEO Kyle Malady; and Shahid Ahmed, Group EVP for New Ventures and Innovation at NTT.
Dewar explained while Velocity is the strand that runs through every MWC event in 2023, there are four sub-themes chosen especially for MWC Las Vegas: 5G Acceleration, sponsored by T-Mobile for Business; Age of AI, sponsored by Qualcomm; Digital Everything, sponsored by Kore, and Enterprise Mobility, which is sponsored by Amazon Web Services.
Hoffman and GSMA Intelligence head Peter Jarich noted Verizon, T-Mobile US and AT&T were focusing their 5G efforts on the enterprise sector, which is why it’s one of the show’s primary themes.
“We’re maturing past the point where 5G is just consumers,” Jarich said. “The operators are really digging in to figure out how do they service the needs of those enterprises? 5G is a big part of that.”
Jarich also noted last year’s event was before generative AI exploded across the telecoms sector. In addition to AI being one of the four primary themes, there are various AI-related sessions, one of which Jarich is moderating.
When talking to operators, one of the biggest challenges Jarich hears about generative AI is that ROI is unclear.
Dewar noted AI-related topics in Las Vegas include the relationship between AI and humans, whether the industry needs to pause AI development, the applications of AI in customer experience, as well as the role of AI in the journey to carbon neutrality and the next wave of 5G innovation.
Other fresh topics at this year’s event include the Satellite and NTN Summit, MWC Las Vegas’ first-ever DevCon in support of the GSMA Open Gateway initiative, and the initial appearance of GSMA’s SEC CON in Las Vegas (highlighting the crucial role of networks in times of conflict).
Dewar stated the conference will also feature a new Sports and Entertainment Summit, which will be located in the NTT-sponsored Industry City on the showfloor. Additional Industry City topics also include manufacturing, fintech and smart mobility with partners and sponsors AT&T Business, Cisco and JMA.
She stated the Industry City Stage will host leaders from the likes of Ai-Fi, AT&T, Caesars Entertainment, Dish Wireless, Fox Sports, JMA Wireless, National Football League teams the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Rams, NTT, Wicket and Verizon.
She also flagged the HUB Startup and Innovation Zone, the 5G Connected Car Summit and the Private Wireless Summit as notable events.
“The power of connectivity is no longer limited to the technology and mobile ecosystems but is being felt far beyond – whether it’s keeping civilians connected in times of conflict, building world-class experiences at the most iconic sporting events or giving rise to the start-ups that will change the face of society,” Hoffman said. “MWC Las Vegas will bring together all of these worlds in the global centre of innovation for three days of discussion, debate and networking.”