MWC 2019: 5G In Focus

Our team joined 100,000 attendees in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. This year’s theme of “Intelligent Connectivity” spoke to the evolving ways we’re becoming connected. The driver behind these intelligent connections? 5G Networks.

Among the attendees was Anthony Berkeley, VP of EMEA/Asia Sales at Velocix, Lumine Group’s most recent acquisition. I spoke with Anthony about his thoughts on 5G and the future of connectivity. Here is what he had to say.

“For the last few years, 5G has always been a focus. But this is the year of 5G. This is the year it hit home and the hype came to life.” says Anthony.

5G: Taking us to the Edge

This year the messaging throughout the show was that 5G isn’t everywhere yet, but the path for it to be is. It wasn’t about 5G on its own, but rather, how 5G will interact in combination with Edge Computing, IoT and AI.

Anthony asks, “How do I embrace media at the Edge of my network? Providers are considering content as a key driver for Edge Enablement and the practical first use case for 5G. The question is who can profit most from this new flexibility.” Anthony claims that “now is the time we are going to answer these questions.”

More bandwidth + Media = Increased Monetization

“There’s this universal description of how to monetize 5G,” says Anthony. “More screens, more eyeballs, more ads. More screen time, and anything can be connected to the network and controlled in a more consistent fashion.”

As more “things” become connected – and are better connected – the amount of content that can be displayed at any time grows. There is an opportunity for media teams to capitalize on this, but what’s more exciting is that this content can be better targeted and hit the right consumer at the right time. This allows media companies to be smarter and to tailor content, in turn becoming more effective.

“There seems to be a feeling that 5G’s revenue story is purely about how it enables companies to monetize the network from a service experience and delivery capability, rather than just asking for consumers for money,” says Anthony. “It’s important to consider what can go beyond that.”

Accelerating Downtime Viewing: New Devices, Better Connections

“Devices are always interesting to us,” says Anthony. “The more access to consume media, the easier it becomes. Foldable screens will fuel an appetite for consuming content in down moments.”

“Picture commuting or sitting on a train: With a larger screen that’s adaptable to different settings, there’s a larger propensity to watch, especially in these down moments,” Anthony explains. He goes on to say that “Paired with 5G’s increased bandwidth and connection reliability, the ways we can consume content will change yet again.”

2020 Predictions: 5G Becomes Real

“I’ve been through 3G and 4G, but 5G is having the most impactful change story,” says Anthony. “If this was the year 5G started to seem real, 2020 will be the year we’re seeing real-life demonstrations of its applications. We’ll understand real-life deployments and the real use of 5G.”

Living in a fully adopted 5G universe is still years away, but for five days in Barcelona it felt as though it had arrived. As telecoms and infrastructures slowly begin to deploy trial networks, the innovative possibilities with 5G seem endless.

Were you at Mobile World Congress this year? What were some of your most memorable takeaways?