February 16, 2022

Mobile World Congress 2022: What to expect

It’s always been the biggest event in the telecom calendar and coming so early in the year, Mobile World Congress typically sets the stage for what we, as an industry, can expect for the rest of the year. As we enter February, there is the usual flurry of predictions for the show’s big topics and we at RFS have our own opinions. In late 2021 we worked with industry influencers to define the big trends for the year from our point of view and here is a look at our top 10.

Radio Frequency Systems,

1. Open RAN 

We gave you a deeper dive into this topic in a recent blog. OpenRAN is one of the most hyped technologies when it comes to the 2022 telecoms landscape and with good reason. The potential benefits of an OpenRAN architecture: greater flexibility and lower costs for operators, give a huge incentive to deliver on the promises of technology. The analyst reports are painting a positive picture, but it is up to OpenRAN vendors to ensure that the solutions live up to expectations. 

2.  Connectivity Everywhere 

This is a much broader but still significant topic for the industry to tackle in 2022. It’s an umbrella for several areas that operators and partners must work on, from ensuring quality and consistency of coverage in cities to delivering connectivity in rural and difficult to reach places. 2022 will see us work with customers in a range of verticals including mining where our radiating cable is perfect to provide the robust, contoured connectivity that is essential in this most difficult environment.

3.    Telco threats 

Operators have a lot on their plates working on the previous trend, however they’re also seeing increasing competition from hyperscalers – the likes of Amazon and Google encroaching on traditional telco territory. One of the key advantages telcos have over a hyperscalers challenger, is that their networks have been built up over time and offer almost ubiquitous coverage all over the world. In 2022, there must be a focus on maintaining and updating this ubiquity to fend off challenges from newer market entrants. 

4. Connected cities 

The connected city isn’t a new trend, but like OpenRAN it is one where we expect to see more traction in 2022, with Polaris predicting that the smart city market will reach $1.03 trillion by 2028. As 5G roll outs gain momentum, there is an opportunity for municipalities to take advantage of improved connectivity and reap the benefits. This will be contingent on having the infrastructure to ensure the comprehensive coverage needed for connected city applications and it will be interesting to see how cities and operators approach this. 

5. Making 5G pay 

If the last two years have been the time to trial 5G and begin to roll out the technology, 2022 is the year that operators need to focus on ensuring that this is a network generation that will deliver ROI. There are many elements to this but the two biggest are in-building coverage and reducing costs. Firstly, with a huge amount of data traffic coming from in-building environments, for 5G to reach its full potential, in-building solutions have to be a priority The second key element of making 5G pay will be identifying and selecting infrastructure that can reduce costs, while improving and increasing capacity and coverage. The solutions that can do more with lower CAPEX, site footprint and inbuilt futureproofing will be absolutely critical to help operators meet this particular goal. 

6. 5G Broadcast 

Broadcast tends to be a topic that we save for NAB in April, but this year there is a real overlap with MWC themes as we look at 5G broadcast. Currently being trialed with RFS equipment in Brazil, we are expecting it to be the next big step in the evolution of broadcast and as the only wireless company to straddle both the telecoms and broadcast space, we’re excited to see how convergence impacts both industries. 

7. Satellite security challenges 

This one veers a little outside of traditional MWC territory, but certainly a key trend in the communication space. Security is always a hot topic, and this is particularly true at the moment when it comes to defense communications. There is a move away from satellite for this type of connectivity as it is being seen as ‘disruptable’, and a move back towards HF solutions as a more secure and reliable alternative. It may not be top of the agenda for MWC, but it will be an interesting opportunity and conversation for RFS in 2022. 

8. The need for green 

We will wait to see how high up the agenda this topic is at MWC, but it is certainly a priority for RFS in 2022. Climate change is a huge concern not just for the telecoms sector, but for the world, and it is vital that as an industry we work to reduce the impact we have on the planet. Manufacturing is part and parcel of the telecoms space and so ensuring that there is a big focus on cleaning up the supply chain and working to meet climate change targets is an essential goal for 2022.

9. Logistical challenges 

This will be a key topic for the industry in 2022 and one that we anticipate will be explored at MWC. With analysts predicting the chip shortage will continue well into 2022, compounded by transport challenges and rising costs, how to deal with logistical challenges is a priority. At RFS we’ve been putting in place plans to mitigate the impact these issues have on our end customers and MWC should give insight into how others are approaching this hurdle.  

10. Advanced Network Features 

It’s always a big one for MWC, what are the latest network tends, how can they be implemented and what are the benefits for operators? 2022 will be a smorgasbord of beamforming, self-organizing networks, AI and cloud, but what we will be most interested to see is the physical network infrastructure needed to make this a reality. In order to deliver this, networks need to evolve and perhaps MWC 22 will give an insight into how operators plan to approach this. 

So, there you have it, RFS’s biggest tech trends for 2022 ahead of MWC. We’ll be visiting each topic in much more detail in our ‘InTune’ blog series; tuning in to how these market trends are evolving and how RFS innovation fits into the bigger picture. 

If you’d like to hear more about any of these trends, contact Peter Raabe, Strategic Marketing and Transformation Director. To arrange a meeting with RFS, contact Lea Gahl, Global Communications Specialist.