All about MWC 2023
March 8, 2023
This Mobile World Congress was never really a consumer technology show, but rather the participation of various smartphone manufacturers turned it into a practical launch pad. Also keep in mind that CES (held in January) is the place where all the other categories, like smart home and wearables or automotive and robotics, get their moment to shine, but on the other hand the MWC happily adopted the monitor from the big smartphone fair. In a word: “telecom”.
This year CES had made its way in, right under the wire, and as the weeks passed, it became increasingly clear that late February or early March would no longer be the ideal time to hold an international tech event in person. This is also because it has changed since 2019, which was the year TechCrunch last attended the show in person.
We found that after a while the show returned in 2021, although it was four months behind its schedule. However, it seems that the program was not at much risk of reaching its attendance limit imposed by the organization, in addition to the fact that the show provided a semblance of normality in 2022, when 60,000 showed up, per the GSMA, even though it was significantly less than 2019’s 109,000, but it was good.
With the advent of 5G it seemed that everything could be different, before the COVID 19 pandemic because it was the struggles of the smartphone industry and now the broader trends show that people are no longer buying smartphones like they used to. In addition to premium product prices, fewer breakthrough innovations, and the fact that mobile phones are now better, it slows down the standard upgrade cycle.
Due to the pandemic, many people were unemployed or underemployed and did not have the means to splurge on non-essential things, plus people did not leave the house as often, shifting spending to things like PCs and tablets.
Another trend that went before the pandemic is moving away from big trade shows to launch blockbuster products. Almost all the big companies started opting for their own events, and then the virtual product launches that happened during the pandemic made the gap even bigger.
For this year’s GSMA with an estimated 75,000 attendees, there are also big names on the exhibitor list, including Samsung, Oppo/OnePlus, Huawei and Xiaomi. Also, there are many companies that are planning releases that are highly anticipated by many, for example, Qualcomm made its standard move by announcing the new flagship Snapdragon chip last year, which means that the update may arrive in the middle of this year.
There are other notable exhibitors of IP from Nokia, HMD, and HTC, VR/AR/MR/XR, and they’re all apparently bound by contract to do something in the space these days. However, on the other hand, Meta/Facebook and Sony will not have a presence at the show this year, but Lenovo will.
“Ready to talk 6G?” is the title of a panel with speakers from Samsung, ZTE and the European Space Agency. So we look forward to the event very excitedly.