Barcelona – which is known for its tiki-taka football, food, and famous attractions – held its annual and biggest mobile phone show of the year, Mobile World Congress 2018. This year was another record-breaking year: the event attracted 107,000 visitors (source: GSMA) from 205 countries and territories.  As well as its showcase of the latest and innovative tech, there was some economic good to come out of it too: the event contributed approximately €471m and over 13,000 part-time jobs to the local economy (source: GSMA). Here are our specific observations from the event:


Last year, the discussion was about the excitement around 5G and this year it was about what companies are doing with 5G. This year there were incredibly interesting demonstrations and discussions, but what was most exciting this year was the real-life examples of 5G; whether it be the first live network at the Winter Olympics, or the new devices ready for the technology. It is great to stop talking about how 5G can benefit our lives, and actually see the impact it will have.


With the arrival of 5G, the automotive sector is the fastest to respond to 5G, driven by the promise of autonomous driving. There were even more connected cars on display compared to last year. The real appeal of 5G’s speed, capacity and reliability could be the potential to improve road safety and traffic congestion.


With plenty of VR gear on display, there was more importance on content and less on hardware this year. There were also plenty of companies showcasing interesting AR ideas – AR-specific glasses, healthcare applications and even the ability to visualise network signals flying through the air.

Mobile World Congress never disappoints. This year there was new tech coupled with lots of hype!