Focus on These 4 Trends at MWC Barcelona 2023

The world’s largest and most influential connectivity event, MWC Barcelona, is nearly here. It’s a vast learning and networking opportunity for communications service providers (CSPs). So vast, it can be overwhelming. Whether you’re planning to attend Feb. 27 or catch recaps of the sessions, MWC Barcelona 2023 offers so much information for only so much time and headspace.

To help make it more digestible, let’s break down the agenda a bit, shall we? Imagine you could only focus on the topics that are critical for CSPs to drive revenue and reduce costs in 2023 and beyond. What would they be?

With that in mind, we’ve condensed the MWC 2023 agenda to the four most influential trends for CSP growth. Here’s your cheat sheet for the topics to watch.


1. CSPs must modernize to capitalize on the 5G acceleration

As CSPs know, the real riches of this generation—such as network slicing and ultra-low latency functionality—are unlocked by 5G standalone networks. Currently, standalone networks are expanding the fastest in East Asia and North America, with rollouts throughout the rest of the world following rapidly. In this new phase, it’s time for CSPs to start to capitalize on their investment and unleash the enterprise use cases of 5G. These opportunities include orchestrating dynamic ecosystems. But, to maximize them, CSPs must overcome some obstacles along the way, such as becoming more efficient for enterprise customers.

Additionally, to position themselves for enterprise and B2B success, CSPs must modernize their tech stack to become more agile and enable scalability. They need the ability to customize and quote products and services quickly and efficiently based on the enterprise customer’s needs. They also need to onboard partners to the ecosystem swiftly and painlessly through robust integrations via Open APIs. These and other capabilities will be hot topics at MWC, as they’re key to CSPs achieving the growth promised by the emerging 5G-powered business models.


2. Public cloud migration is gaining steam

Another driver for agile operations is the public cloud, particularly as CSPs shift aspects of their BSS to it. Cloud-based BSS systems can speed up CSPs’ time to market and lower their operating costs, as well as give them much-needed flexibility to quickly scale functions up or down.

Seeing these benefits, the industry is growing to embrace cloud-native tools, and migration will only increase from here. That said, Omdia found in a recent survey that the most cited barriers for CSPs deploying cloud-native architectures and practices was the complexity of 1) modernizing legacy software and of 2) the operations change required.

We’ll find ample discussion at MWC on the benefits of cloud-based operations for CSPs—i.e., the “why” of cloud. But pay attention also to discussion of the “how,” or the ways CSPs will overcome the complexity presented by cloud migration.


3. Consumer expectations call for better segmentation

According to a new GSMA Intelligence report, global 5G adoption is set to scale from 1B to 1.5B users over the next year. But the return on investment is slow, and CSPs aren’t yet getting back in ARPU gains what they’ve put in. An encouraging sign, however, is that 50% of consumers said they’d be interested in 5G add-on services. CSPs should listen to discussions on those offerings and the technology they will require to launch and monetize them quickly.

We’ll also hear what makes the new and upcoming 5G subscribers different from the early adopters. They’re distinct groups of telecommunications consumers who desire different things from 5G offerings; each group will require different approaches to obtain and retain. Customer segmentation will become more important than ever for CSPs to present the bundles that pull in more consumers. GSMA Intelligence gives the example of gaming: 36% of 5G consumers overall are interested in adding gaming content to their subscriptions, but for 18-24-year-olds, it’s 60%. Clearly, it’s become even more vital for CSPs to know their customer and present them with tailored experiences and offers.


4. Customer experience—both B2C and B2B—becomes a top priority

As 5G consumer adoption keeps rolling along, it’s critical for CSPs to retain customers with superior experiences. Personalized offers, proactive and predictive notifications, and customizability will be table stakes for meeting the expectations of today’s consumer.

However, when you hear “customer experience” or CX at MWC, think about not only the CX for consumers but for enterprises, as well. The customizability of services and the smoothness of the buying experience will matter as much to enterprises as the offerings themselves. CSPs can differentiate as B2B market leaders when they can configure and quote enterprise products in real time, ensure seamless delivery, and prompt and accurate billing. At the show, CSPs should listen for talk on catalog-driven approaches to the orchestration of B2B and B2B2X services and the technology needed to create them.


Don’t miss the key insights!

The best conversations on 5G monetization, the enterprise opportunity, and customer experience will be at MWC Barcelona 2023. I’m not just referring to the talks that take place onstage, but also the face-to-face discussions in the meeting rooms and the exhibition hall. There, we brainstorm with CSPs on how to solve their biggest challenges and ensure that they maximize their success throughout this 5G era of opportunity.

Let’s have one of those conversations. It’s not too late to reserve your meet-up with myself or my CSG colleagues who’ll be at MWC Barcelona, but slots are filling up fast. Reserve your spot today.

Not going to Barcelona? Then be sure to check out the latest findings from GSMA Intelligence in their Global Mobile Trends 2023 report, which is free to download here.

CSG Employee Headshot of James Kirby

James Kirby

SVP, Global Telco