A report from the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2015

04 March 2015

The GSMA Mobile World Congress 2015, the world's largest GSM conference and exhibition is currently underway at the Fira Gran Via Conference Centre, Barcelona, and according to Michael O’Hara, GSMA's Chief Marketing Officer, it promises to be the most exciting yet. With 1400+ exhibitors and an anticipated 100,000 attendees, the MWC is the flagship event for the mobile communication industry. 

Keynote speakers at this year's event include Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO, AT&T Mobile & Business Solutions, Xi Guohua, Chairman, China Mobile, Timotheus Höttges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom and Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive, Vodafone. 

The four day event which runs from March 2nd to March 5th brings together some of the most influential players in the sector, including network operators, handset and device manufacturers, internet providers, software makers, retailers and content developers, providing them with an opportunity to showcase new products and innovations. 

As predicted "wearable tech" is very much on the agenda with a whole host of manufacturers showcasing their latest watches and sports bracelets. Pebble revealed its newest device, the "Pebble Time Steel" smartwatch. It's fabricated from stainless steel and whilst it is a full millimetre thicker than the plastic version, Pebble claim that battery life has been extended from 7 to ten days. It's available in black, gold or silver and features a colour e-paper display. Particularly interesting is that Pebble have opened the accessory port to allow third party addons such as GPS or heart-rate monitors. 

Not to be outdone, the Chinese networking and telecoms giant Huawei have unveiled their first smartwatch which features a 1.4" circular display with scratch-proof sapphire crystal lens. Wearers will be able to check emails, send and receive texts and the health conscious can monitor calories burned and distance travelled. 

Samsung unveiled the S6 and S6 Edge, they feature unibody aluminium chassis, Gorilla Glass 4 and both ship with a wireless charging system. Samsung claim that just a 10 minute charge will provide enough power for 4 hours use. The S6 Edge features a wraparound "three-sided screen". 

In addition to the main exhibition, several companies are participating in partner programmes - Twitter is holding a number of educational sessions aimed at developers and marketers whilst Fujitsu, Gamelab Mobile, Good Technology and PublicVine will all be hosting partner events. 

New features for 2015 include "4 Years From Now" (4YFN), an event presented by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and devoted to innovation in the mobile and digital ecosystem. Its primary aim is to connect startups and entrepreneurs with potential investors. Also new for 2015 is the Connected Women Summit, examining how the mobile communications industry can accelerate the female digital economy, whilst The MMIX is a revolutionary discussion forum on how the digital music landscape is changing and reflects on the explosive growth of music on mobile.

Yesterday afternoon saw the 20th Global Mobile Awards being presented at the MWC by actor, comedian, writer and film producer John Cleese. He referred to his audience as "technical geeks" and went on to recall some of his experiences of hotel service on his global travels. Cleese was joined on stage to present the awards by Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Chairman, of the GSMA and President and CEO of Telenor Group, Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA and John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Ltd., as well as representatives from Telefónica, Time/Fortune and Gamelab. 

A full list of winners can be found at http://www.globalmobileawards.com/winners-2015/