What we'll be doing at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress

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For a week every year, Barcelona, Spain becomes the mobile capital of the world as thousands from around the world convene in the city for the Mobile World Congress (MWC). In 2014, 85,000 participants attended the MWC, including more than 1,800 exhibitors, 4,500 industry CEOs, 139 government delegations and 22 international institutions).
 
The World Bank is sending an information and communications technology (ICT) team, led by Senior Director Pierre Guislain. While there, we will immerse ourselves in the latest research, trends and conversations about mobile communications. Our activities, discussions and investigations are being led by our quest for “Broadband Access for All,” which is one of our Global Practice’s strategic areas – as well as the primary theme for this year’s MWC. We believe that connectivity equals opportunity, and are working with clients and countries around the world to close the digital divide.
 
We focus on technical assistance, infrastructure, partnerships and policy solutions to help ensure that broadband Internet is not only accessible, but also affordable for all. Our Senior Director’s speech and panel discussion at next week’s meetings is titled “Elements and Enablers of Mobile Affordability: What is required to achieve affordable access to mobile broadband for everyone?”
 
One of the MWC’s key elements, and one of particular interest to our ICT team, is the Ministerial Program. This is a forum for government and telecommunications regulators and representatives to debate current problems, learn from emerging trends and engage with international organizations and operators.  We will be holding bilateral meetings with government ministers, industry stakeholders, potential donors and others to discuss real-life projects, ongoing challenges and solutions, and collaboration opportunities.
 
Throughout the MWC, we will be delving into some of those most pressing issues and challenges standing in our way of reaching our clients’ goals of providing low-cost, high-quality broadband access, which goes a long way toward improving their citizens’ daily lives, economic development and social well-being.
 
And, of course, we’ll be keeping an eye on the hot issues, trends and next big things that will certainly emerge from the conference, such as:
  • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg will be following up with another keynote this year, in which we expect him to provide more details and results of Internet.org, including new service offerings to the world’s poorest and most unconnected communities.  It will be interesting to hear more about Facebook’s recent launch of its free app in India.
  • We expect to hear much more about 5G technology (and other new LTE unlicensed spectrum developments), and how it may  be the solution we are all dreaming about for providing gigabit broadband bandwidth at low price points for the benefit of our client countries’ citizens.
  • We’re interested in hearing about and discussing lower-cost smart phones and tablets, as well as other new device developments – including how wearable technology might contribute to our access for all objectives.
  • We’ll be keen on conversations on advances in cybersecurity, and how better to protect our clients and their citizens.
  • And, of course, there is the Internet of Things, and how it will transform our service delivery across all sectors.
Next stop Barcelona! We will be updating you on the events and outcomes as they happen.

Authors

Doyle Gallegos

Lead ICT Policy Specialist

Join the Conversation

Kaiser Naseem
March 16, 2015

Very interesting and thanks for sharing. Do also try and find out/understand what role, if any, the WBG can have in the fast evolving and fast growing P2P lending platforms space. This is a quicker, cheaper and more efficient way to get funding to small businesses for growth and expansion. I think we need to encourage and promote this but the regulatory environment is still unkonwn. Is this weher we can have a role?