This week Mobile World Congress returned to Barcelona with the aspiration of once again becoming the meeting point for the mobile telephony sector, after two years without major on-site events.

More than 60,000 attendees from 180 countries are expected to come to see new products from more than 1,800 exhibitors, including Vodafone, Telefónica and Orange, Google and Meta (Facebook). There will also be top-level speakers, from the CEOs of AT&T, Nokia and Qualcomm to the CEOs of Caixabank and Telefónica, who will be the stars of an exciting agenda of keynotes on the sector’s trends. Here’s a taster of some of the key topics being addressed:

From 5G to IoT, connectivity is everywhere

MWC Barcelona 2022 has five thematic axes that aim to highlight the importance of connectivity in all aspects of our lives. The first of these is 5G technology, whose display is back on track and is expected to reach one billion users worldwide by the end of this year. Spain and Portugal are among the countries that are doing their homework in this area, as they already have 5G coverage in major cities and are extending it to metropolitan areas.

The second major connectivity front is the Internet of Things, which MWC 2022 has rebranded as the “Internet of Everything”, and which is expected to reach a whopping 40 billion connected devices this year. This will drive the development of the third theme at Mobile World Congress, which is the cloud and the services that derive from it. Closely linked to these aspects are the advances in artificial intelligence, which promise to revolutionise the way we use devices, networks and applications. Finally, this edition of the MWC pays special attention to the growing phenomenon of Fintech and, as usual, it explores in depth some of the new technological horizons of the future, such as the metaverse and Industry 4.0.

A burst of new devices and ecosystems

Of course, mobile devices presented by leading manufacturers and by those who manage to make a name for themselves in the media thanks to the originality of their proposals will have a prominent role at MWC 2022. Among others, at this edition we are seeing new models that will compete to offer the fastest battery charging in the world.

In contrast to the absence of major companies that aren’t attending MWC 2022 in person, those who are there and who have reserved their big announcements for the coming days are technology giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce, Intel and IBM, as well as manufacturers such as Cisco, Fujitsu, Dell.

Alongside devices, the growing ecosystems that accompany them are becoming increasingly important. Google has, once again, set up the Android Garden to showcase the possibilities of its operating system, while Telefónica is demonstrating a platform for autonomous surveillance drones using 5G technology. For its part, Vodafone wants to focus on technologies that will accelerate the energy transition. Sustainability is very much on the agenda at MWC, which is celebrating its seventh year of carbon neutrality.

4YFN and side events return

MWC would not be complete without the attractive side events that accompany it. Starting with 4YFN, a show dedicated to entrepreneurship in which this year more than 500 international startups and nearly 300 speakers are taking part. In addition to showcasing their ideas, the entrepreneurs attending this event have the chance to attract some of the numerous institutional investors and venture capital funds invited, which will bring more than 4,000 million euros in their chequebooks to invest in projects.

For the first time, Diversity4Tech, an event dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the technology sector, is being held. And for the second year, the GSMA Ministerial Programme is taking place, with more than 140 national delegations debating issues such as the digital divide, the fight against climate change and the regulation of the digital world.

Finally, there will also be the GLOMO (Global Mobile Awards), which recognise the best innovations in different areas of the technology sector. There’s lots to see, whether on the ground or virtually, and follow us for updates from the show.