CSG booth at MWC Barcelona 2024

MWC 2024 Takeaways – AI, APIs and the Rise of Techco

At this year’s Mobile World Congress—the telecommunication industry’s largest annual gathering—100,000-plus attendees, including communication service providers’ (CSPs) and professionals from telecom-adjacent industries, gained insights into current and future innovations.

MWC24 treated attendees to exciting demonstrations of how today’s expanding connectivity is delivering new services in a variety of industries, such as manufacturing, transportation and healthcare. Much of the emphasis at MWC24 was on the industry’s slow but steady progress at driving B2B revenue growth beyond core connectivity. Sessions highlighted technologies, initiatives and strategies to reduce costs, tap into new revenue streams and give CSPs a competitive advantage.

Read on for more insights into three of the most significant topics: artificial intelligence (AI), application programming interfaces (APIs) and the telco to techco transformation.

AI: Efficiency-Boosting Practical Uses

It’s no surprise that AI took center stage at MWC24—exemplifying its pervasive influence in the telecom sector. With the focus on key uses cases, from enhancing network performance to revolutionizing customer experiences, attendees were enlightened on the transformative capabilities of AI, including VIP customer service, fraud detection and predictive maintenance.

Takeaway: CSPs face several pressing challenges when adopting advanced AI, with security at the top of the list. Organizations that implement AI gain access to vast amounts of personal, sensitive data that’s vulnerable to unauthorized access, data breaches or cyberattacks. CSPs must use AI responsibly, protecting data privacy and communicating transparently about how customer data is used.

APIs: More Connections Mean More Revenue

APIs have heralded a new era of connectivity and revenue generation for mobile operators. Initiatives like the GSMA Open Gateway opened doors to seamless integration across global networks, fostering a fertile ground for innovation. Developers harnessed the power of APIs to enhance existing services and pioneer groundbreaking solutions, from combatting fraud to enabling immersive online experiences.

Takeaway: According to McKinsey research, the GSMA Open Gateway and other network API initiatives have the potential to create substantial value for the telecommunications industry in the next six years. In fact, if operators can make more of their network APIs accessible to enterprise developers and cloud providers, they could tap into an additional$300 billion market opportunity by 2030.

Telco to Techco: Reinventing CSPs from the Inside Out

The transformation of CSPs into techcos emerged as a defining narrative at MWC24. With traditional revenue streams plateauing, CSPs pivoted towards a broader spectrum of technology services, catering to enterprise needs and forging strategic partnerships. From cloud applications to internet of things (IoT) connectivity, the expanded service portfolio promises new avenues for revenue growth, underscoring the allure of co-creation and innovation. However, as CSPs navigate this paradigm shift, they should be ready to confront challenges such as environmental sustainability and organizational adaptation, which loom large and demand proactive strategies for success.

Takeaway: CSPs are partnering with enterprises to co-create compelling products and services for new use cases and market sectors. But growing revenue from core connectivity is difficult. Analysys Mason projects that industry spending on connectivity in Western Europe will be flat, with a mere0.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2023 to 2028. During that same period, business budgets for information technology (IT) services are expected to see an 8.3% CAGR. According to Analysys Mason experts, IT services provide the most opportunities for operator revenue growth.

More MWC Takeaways

Beyond the spotlight on AI, APIs and the rise of techcos, MWC24 offered insights into the pressing challenges facing the telecommunications industry. From reducing environmental footprints to driving growth, CSPs confront myriad hurdles on their path to innovation.

MWC24 in Barcelona was not merely a convergence of industry leaders and innovators; it was a glimpse into the future of connectivity. As AI, APIs and the rise of techcos will redefine the telecom landscape. Stakeholders must seize the ongoing opportunity to shape a future that is not only interconnected, but is also sustainable and inclusive. With challenges abound and opportunities aplenty, MWC24 served as a rallying cry for collaboration, innovation, and forward-thinking—a clarion call to unveil the limitless potential of tomorrow’s connected world.

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CSG Insights Team