Skip to Content

what we learned at mwc Barcelona 2023

14 Mar 2023

Mobile World Congress 2023 (MWC 2023), the biggest telecom festival of the world was organized by GSMA in Barcelona a few days ago. This four-day event gave important directions to the global telecom industry on how to effectively monetize their network investments and overcome any future challenges.

From Private 5G networks and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Metaverse and immersive experiences, this event provided glimpses of a world connected with 5G. We also learnt the future telco networks are going to be more sustainable, energy efficient, and mostly open and cloud native. Overall, the event left a strong impression on the world that telco industry is now gearing up for next levels of growth and ready to assume a bigger role in the global ICT ecosystem.

Here are our key takeaways from MWC 2023.

  • Industry players are coming together to deploy private 5G networks
  • Having sustainable, energy efficient networks is becoming critical for CSPs
  • New hybrid cloud solutions for telcos are coming from hyperscalers
  • Open RAN continued to find its industry sweet spot through collaborations
  • GSMA’s ‘Open Gateway’ initiative gathered MNOs’ support
  • Telefónica is gradually creating an ecosystem for Metaverse applications

Industry players are coming together to deploy private 5G networks

CTOs and CIOs from large enterprises were present at the event, and they were more than curious to understand the benefits of having private wireless networks. CXOs wanted to have dependable, unified, and simplified connectivity at their premises for better safety, security, and productivity of their assets. Telcos, NEPs, chipmakers, hyperscalers and their IT & system integrator partners came together to show to the enterprises that it is possible to have an exceptionally reliable connectivity by deploying private 5G networks.

Cisco and NTT have partnered to bring managed private 5G solutions that can be integrated with enterprises’ pre-existing LAN/WAN and Cloud infrastructures. Deutsche Telekom (DT) also partnered with Microsoft on private 5G, specifically to target underserved small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses. To transform industrial automation systems through virtual connectivity, Schneider Electric, Qualcomm, and Capgemini announced collaboration to create a tailored, end-to-end 5G private network solution, which can be deployed across industrial and logistical sites.

There remains a huge growth potential for CSPs and other industry players in the private 5G space across enterprise segments, as this market is catching up fast due to rapid industry automation. Furthermore, Capgemini is also supporting the automotive industry’s fast transformation by embracing 5G intelligent connectivity, computer vision sensors, edge, and cloud services to enable cars to become ‘mobility software platforms’ for assisted driving and road security.

Having sustainable, energy-efficient networks is becoming critical for CSPs

Apart from fulfilling their net zero commitments, there is a grown demand among telcos for energy efficient networks due to rampant energy shortages and rising inflationary pressures. The interest from many spheres of the industry is coming to overcome these challenges through AI and virtualization. During the event, Qualcomm and Mavenir introduced a new OpenBeam massive MIMO Active Antenna Unit based on Qualcomm QRU100 5G RAN Platform. The solution uses AI to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) of 5G deployments, increase energy efficiency and raise network performance.

Intel also launched its 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel vRAN Boost, which can deliver capacity gains and power savings for telcos. CSPs are also embracing such energy efficient / Intelligent RAN solutions. For example, Singtel announced the deployment of Ericsson’s Cell Sleep Mode function to conserve energy at its mobile base stations. Going forward, we expect more telcos to demand energy efficient solutions to safeguard their margins while also sticking to their net zero commitments.

New hybrid-cloud solutions for telcos are coming from hyperscalers

During the event, we saw hyperscalers widening their product portfolios for the telco industry to reduce any friction to the cloudification of networks and IT infrastructures. Microsoft launched ‘Azure Operator Nexus,’ a hybrid cloud platform that allows CSPs to run their carrier-grade workloads both on-premises and on Azure. Google Cloud has also launched several new products that help CSPs build, deploy, and operate hybrid, cloud-native networks, collect & manage network data, and improve CX using AI. On the similar lines, VMware highlighted the deployment of its Telco Cloud platform by the global CSPs, with product advancements and an expanded partner ecosystem. 

Some CSPs are embracing the Cloud, not only to fulfill their own virtualization or modernization goals, but also to leverage the Cloud for transforming themselves into industry solution providers. For example, Swisscom has partnered with Ericsson to explore hybrid cloud use cases with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Swisscom has also started a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) trial with Ericsson 5G Core applications running on AWS, to explore how the use cases support the needs of telcos.

Open RAN continued to find its industry sweet spot through collaborations

At the event, we witnessed a growing industry consensus that collaboration is the key for developing a conducive Open RAN ecosystem. For example, NTT DOCOMO announced that it is cooperating with KT Corp, Vodafone, Smart Communications, DISH Wireless, and Singtel on various Open RAN initiatives, while Supermicro announced that it is working with Capgemini and Intel to achieve real-world performance gains for Open RAN. Deutsche Telekom (DT) also reinforced its commitment to Open RAN with plans for commercial brownfield deployments and selecting Mavenir for a multi-vendor Europe deployment including massive MIMO starting in 2023.

GSMA’s ‘Open Gateway’ initiative gathered MNOs’ support

There was a strong support from GSMA to the open-source community. GSMA announced an industry-wide initiative named ‘Open Gateway,’ providing a framework of network APIs to give universal access to CSPs’ networks to developers. Launched with the support of 21 MNOs, this move represented a major shift in telcos’ design and delivery services. Hyperscalers AWS and Azure also backed the project. With a growing industry support to Open APIs, we are expecting the future telco networks to become more open and disaggregated, offering better monetization opportunities to telcos.

Telefónica is gradually creating an ecosystem for Metaverse applications

We saw an industry wide interest in digital twins, AR/VR, and immersive experiences throughout the event, making it clear that the industry has started to take Metaverse seriously. Telefónica was quick to take advantage of this trend and displayed their propositions for the Metaverse. The CSP presented a demo on ‘Making Smart Industry happen,’ where it simulated an industrial process and corrected errors in industrial parts with support from 5G, edge, data, and machine learning. Telefónica also partnered with KDDI and collaborated with Sturfee (a tech co building Visual Positioning System) and Mawari (a provider of Cloud Rendering and Streaming technologies) to create 5G MEC powered XR Digital Twin Store. This project demonstrated application of XR technologies to create a sense of co-presence and togetherness. Like Telefónica, we are expecting a further industry participation in developing Metaverse applications, for both B2C and B2B segments.


After strong CAPEX on 5G in 2022, telcos are increasingly seeking network monetization opportunities, especially from the enterprise segment. CSPs are now more focused on addressing a growing demand for private 5G networks among enterprises and showing a greater willingness to collaborate with other industry players to deliver most effective private wireless solutions. There is also an increased telcos’ interest in having more open, disaggregated networks so they could establish themselves as platform providers or marketplaces for B2B and developers’ communities. Apart from monetization, telcos have also increased their focus on cost saving by improving their network and operating efficiency. CSPs are investing more in sustainable, energy efficient networks as well as speeding up their cloud transformation to save future outlays. Thus, going forward we are expecting CSPs to become smarter, asset light organizations, with more agility and an innovation mindset to play a bigger role beyond connectivity.

TelcoInsights is a series of posts about the latest trends and opportunities in the telecommunications industry – powered by a community of global industry experts and thought leaders.


Vaibhav Mahajan

Telco Intelligence Expert at Capgemini Technology Services
Vaibhav is a Program Manager in Capgemini’s Global Telecom Industry Platform. He has robust sector expertise in telecoms, helping clients develop strategic & prospective vision with actionable industry insights.