Mobile World Congress is the industry’s biggest showcase of the year, and if you can manage to sift through the hype and the sheer volume of show news, you can get a pretty decent idea of where the telecom industry is putting its energy for the coming year.

Unsurprisingly, 5G was even bigger this year than last year. We finally have the first 5G standards release, and everyone wants to be the first to offer 5G services — even if some of them are actually kinda-sorta 4G. But carriers are now thinking about their 4G investments as groundwork for 5G or “5G readiness”; or at T-Mobile US CTO Neville Ray put it, “Every dollar we invest in our network is a 5G dollar.”

Verizon’s SVP and Chief Technology Architect Ed Chan observed: “Some of the things that caught my eye were the technology demonstrations. Compared to two years ago, many of those demos have matured and evolved from concepts to actual prototypes. And the volume of those demos has increased too. I saw many more examples of technologies like augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, precision remote robotics, and other technologies than in previous years.”

The 5G announcements ranged from partnerships and network timeline projections to hardware and device testing.


But some companies were thinking even beyond terrestrial coverage, with a mission to put LTE on the moon and robotic heads in space:


While Huawei took the virtual-reality lunar approach:

How’s this for a demo? Nokia’s CMO Barry French promised that if the company hit certain KPIs, that he’d have his head shaved live at MWC.

We have reached a point in technology development where elevated drone-charging stations are being integrated into infrastructure. Crazy.

There was a great diversity of smartphone devices, as shown below:

The iPhone X’s notch didn’t exactly get much love as a design element when that device came out, but it’s spreading anyway. Notches everywhere!

Also, so many robots:

And what might we see at MWC 2019? National Instruments is on it, already:

Image copyright: quka / 123RF Stock Photo

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