MWC party goes on amid the rubble of telecom

This post was originally published on Light Reading

MWC23 – The tail end of Mobile World Congress (MWC) week is always a time of reflection about the show and the state of the industry as bleary-eyed and hungover execs return home, in no shape for anything more cognitive than riffling through reams of restaurant receipts. There are a few things to say about the 2023 edition, but the broad industry themes are ones of desperation and denial as the show rebounds from its COVID slump. MWC is in rude health. The sector itself looks anything but vigorous.

The rivers of people that flowed daily between MWC’s oversized stands proved the industry that figured out how to communicate in real time over long distances has not lost its appetite for congregating in one spot. The GSM Association (GSMA), a lobby group that counts on MWC and related shows for its revenues, estimates there were more than 88,500 visitors this year. And while there is some attendee skepticism that numbers were quite so high, the show felt busier than last year’s, when the GSMA’s estimate was 61,000. A year earlier, during the pandemic, an emaciated MWC attracted as few as 20,000 people, and only 5,000 of them came from

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