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Musings from MWC Americas

Throughout the halls at MWC Americas Las Vegas were a smattering of discussions, exhibits and conversations core to the communications industry, its growth and innovative pursuits. Among the hot topics were Open RAN, Private Wireless Networks, Fixed Wireless Access, Fintech and, of course, all things AI and ubiquitous 5G.

The Fintech discussion in Industry City dove into the challenges that the financial industry is facing as robotexts, robocalls and now, apps are plagued with an ever-increasing level of fraud using old and new tactics. The panelists acknowledged the intrinsic value of having authoritative, trusted numbering intelligence that is accessible and actionable across an enterprise. They also agreed that the ecosystem needs to find efficient ways to share data points on ways to detect fraud and to continue to use the signals native to the devices that we carry with us every day, everywhere to stay one step ahead of fraudsters.

On the Private Wireless Network front, the Wednesday morning keynoters discussed how they empower enterprises. From healthcare to the military, to sports venues and commercial real estate, Private Wireless Networks provide the quality, reliability and secure communications needed both on-prem and off. Verizon Business CEO Kyle Malady commented that businesses want to control the flow of their data and ensure data sovereignty within their company, and now, with 5G, that can be extended.

“With private 5G wireless networks, businesses can separate the networks and allow the company to manage devices on-prem and on the WAN,” Malady said. “Previously, they might have been able to manage on-prem but now they can do that on the wider network too -- 4G private didn’t allow that.”

He noted that there are different flavors of private networks, all of which allow companies to innovate on top of public networks, have guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs) and the security and certainty that the network will work as needed, which helps companies be even more efficient and innovative.

Closing the digital divide was discussed during the “Ensuring our Wireless Future” session with Adriana Rios Welton, General Counsel and Chief of Government Affairs, US Cellular and Tim Donovan, President and CEO, Competitive Carriers Association. Both presenters highlighted that connectivity everywhere incents people to stay in rural areas and not leave for places that have greater coverage but in order to achieve that goal, additional funding for infrastructure is needed to bring mobile access to rural areas. Illustrating the need to support to build out of the rural 5G networks, it was pointed out that even though five rural service providers have a total of 200K subscribers combined, they service 60M roamers. 

During the “Leading the Technology Renaissance” keynote, Slayton Stewart, Chairman, CTIA and CEO, Carolina West Wireless commented how the Digital Divide impacts the community and local economy. 

“Connected people help to retain populations, provide better educational experiences for children, better telehealth, more employment opportunities, growth in entrepreneurship, supports manufacturing facilities and precision agriculture,” Steward said. He also noted how loss of coverage impacts public safety and that additional funding was needed to build the infrastructure and secure spectrum to support rural communities.

With an array of healthy discussions at the show, one message weaved throughout nearly all of them was that the network itself is the connective tissue that keeps information moving. That overarching reality makes it both clear and understandable why the service providers continue to invest in improving the networks and protecting the integrity of communications as they actively court enterprises to ensure that they leverage the network and continue to derive value and efficiency from its existence.