Despite global tensions amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the show—in this case MWC 2022—went on, ending Thursday in Barcelona. GSMA, the trade show host, used the event as a platform to launch The Mobile Economy Report 2022, which delves into the outlook for 5G connections and sets the stage for the onslaught of news that came out of the event last week—many of which focused on enterprise and the 5G network infrastructure more so than mobile devices, a stark change from previous years.
GSMA’s report says by the end of this year, there will be more than 1 billion 5G connections, and by 2025, there will be more than 2 billion 5G connections. In fact, by the end of 2025, the data suggests more than one in every five mobile connections will be 5G, and more than two in five people will live within reach of a 5G network globally. When compared to previous generations of mobile technology, 5G’s growth is unprecedented, GSMA says. For example, 5G made up more than 5.5% of mobile connections just 18 months after its launch, while neither 3G nor 4G made up more than 2.2% of mobile connections after the same amount of time.
Many companies used MWC to launch their own initiatives, partnerships, products, and news. And this goes beyond the unveiling of new smartphones, tablets, and other connected gadgets (although there was a lot of that, too). Cisco, for instance, built on recent announcements focused on facilitating the future of hybrid work by announcing more details about its Private 5G as-a-service delivered with global partners. Cisco says its Private 5G reduces the technical, financial, and operational risks associated with managing enterprise private 5G networks. Together with Wi-Fi and the IoT (Internet of Things), private 5G can “transform industries,” Cisco says, in part by enabling connectivity for factory floors, supply chains, university and enterprise campuses, hospitals, and more.
Cisco also announced enhancements to its IoT portfolio meant to help customers achieve simplified data management at massive scale. Specifically, Cisco says its IoT Control Center now fulfills industry needs for Mass IoT with a “simplified and secure connectivity management package” that was purpose-built for lower-complexity IoT devices. It’s one example of how the company is striving to make the IoT easier and more valuable for enterprise customers.
In related news, AT&T and Microsoft announced AT&T Private 5G Edge at MWC 2022. Designed for the small-to-mid-sized market, the companies say their integrated platform for private networking and edge computing offers the ability to stay connected even after roaming beyond the geographical boundaries of a private network. For customers with assets that “travel”—for instance, AT&T gives the example of a hospital loaning out ventilators or other equipment that it still needs to track to other hospitals or facilities—this is incredibly useful. AT&T Private 5G Edge is using Azure private MEC (multi-access edge compute) with Azure Private 5G Core to help deploy these private wireless networks rapidly across radio spectrums.
The companies foresee their Private 5G Edge service benefitting industries such as manufacturing, automotive, retail, education, and medical, among others, by enabling use cases like the use of AI (artificial intelligence) and robotic assembly and event detection in factories. AT&T says it plans to release more details about the service’s roadmap later this year, and customers and developers can request to participate in the preview phase.
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