At the world show, telecoms mark a digital future
Reuters, BARCELONA, SPAIN
Telecom bosses yesterday celebrated the return of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with a program to put the industry at the center of digital development and inclusion in a global reboot after the COVID-19 pandemic.
After making networks buzz while people were locked in their homes, telecoms executives said the pandemic had shown how vital connectivity is for those with access to the latest technology, and more so for the billions who have it. missing.
Canceled last year at the last minute when COVID-19 began to spread around the world, the annual event takes place in a hybrid format with around 30,000 visitors – rather than the 100,000 who typically attend – and others online.
“We’re back to business, back to Barcelona and back together,” said Mats Granryd, head of the GSMA industry association which hosts the world’s largest telecommunications gathering on the grounds of the Fira de Barcelona trade fair.
With the acceleration of digitization during the pandemic, cybersecurity and data governance take center stage, said executives of Telefonica SA, Deutsche Telekom AG and Orange SA in France, adding that building trust with consumers remains essential.
“For too long, advancements in technology have meant only progress at all costs, but real progress comes when we move towards a fair future, not when we just make new, shiny things,” said Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange and president of the GSMA. main stage of the event.
Struggling with high debt and low incomes, telecommunications are hoping to capitalize on social credit drawn from their role in connecting societies and individuals during the pandemic to position themselves as the ‘good guys’.
“Data cannot be mined without compensation – it’s called digital dignity,” said Telefonica CEO Jose-Maria Alvarez-Pallete. “I have the right to know what my data is worth.”
The trio also called for a regulatory overhaul in the EU, saying fragmentation across the bloc puts them at a disadvantage compared to rivals, such as Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging service.
“Connectivity is needed today, but in 2030 connectivity will be a human right,” said Tim Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom.
Most telecoms are betting big on 5G, with partnerships announced at the event covering cloud, software as a service, and traditional mobile and broadband operations.
Qualcomm Inc said Monday that it plans to work with more than 30 carriers and telecommunications equipment suppliers who have committed to using the faster variant of 5G network technology.
Among them are the Chinese Fibocom Wireless Inc (廣 和 通) and China Unicom Ltd (中國 聯通), the Taiwanese Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華 電信), as well as the German Deutsche Telekom and the Australian Telstra Corp.
The faster version of 5G uses higher frequencies and is called a “millimeter wave” by Qualcomm, although different carriers mark it with their own trade names, such as “5G Ultra Wideband” from Verizon Communications Inc.
Qualcomm’s chips have a lead in millimeter wave technology over rivals, such as MediaTek Inc (聯 發 科), so they could increase sales if the technology is more widely adopted.
“In fact, we haven’t seen a lot of millimeter waves outside of the United States and Japan, and a few limited deployments in Europe and Korea so far, but it’s developing pretty quickly,” Durga Malladi, Senior Vice President and General Manager of 5G Technologies at Qualcomm. , said at a press briefing.
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