Mobile World Congress

Innovation Amidst Repetition: The Convergence of Open APIs and Established Norms at MWC Barcelona 2024

Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2024 was undeniable proof that the recently beleaguered event was back to full strength following a few years of COVID driven hardship. Attracting more than 100,000 visitors, this year’s event, steeped in the theme “Future First,” not only celebrated the advancements in connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI) but also spotlighted the pivotal role of open APIs in driving forward a new era of mobile industry collaboration.

A Future Built on Collaboration: Open APIs and Industry Unity

There was major emphasis again on open APIs at MWC 2024. The global mobile industry continues to covet more interoperable ecosystems, unlocking innovative services and seamless user experiences, heralding a future where collaboration transcends competition. This focus on open APIs, alongside the rapid advancements in 5G and the burgeoning potential of 6G, underscores the industry’s commitment to crafting a connected world that is both inclusive and forward-thinking.

Groundhog Day or a New Dawn?

Despite the forward-looking innovations, some voices, like Scott Bicheno from, articulated a sense of ‘déjà vu,’ pointing out the recurring emphasis on AI, or the ongoing perceived failure to monetise 5G, were indicative of the ongoing struggle to find novel narratives within the telecom industry. This sentiment raises an important question: Are we truly making strides towards the future, or are we caught in a cycle of rehashed themes and ideas? To be fair, this open question is one that Scott debated further, and more positively, with his long-standing colleague and counterpart, Iain Morris from Light Reading and George Malim from VanillaPlusand IoT Now, on this most recent podcast. After further musings, the consensus was that the industry was making progress and acknowledged that complicated and far-reaching evolution inevitably takes time.

Bridging the Old and the New: The Role of Open APIs

In the face of these reflections, the spotlight on open APIs at MWC 2024 emerges as a beacon of hope. By enabling a more agile and accessible technological framework, open APIs not only promise to catalyze innovation but also offer a pathway to reconciling the new with the old. They stand at the confluence of the industry’s past and future, offering a platform for both established players and newcomers to co-create solutions that are greater than the sum of their parts.

The Way Forward: Embracing Evolution

As we ponder the insights from MWC 2024, it becomes evident that the journey ahead requires a balanced approach. The industry must continue to push the boundaries of technology, leveraging the transformative potential of open APIs, AI, and next-generation networks, while also acknowledging the evolutionary nature of innovation. This dual focus will ensure that the mobile industry remains a vibrant ecosystem of continuous improvement, capable of meeting the ever-evolving demands of consumers and businesses alike.

Conclusion: A Unified Vision for the Future

MWC Barcelona 2024 painted a picture of a mature industry taking steady incremental steps forward. The emphasis on open APIs and the recurring themes of AI and 5G network evolution through to 6G highlight a path forward marked by collaboration, openness, and innovation. It’s a complex path to travel, but there was enough on show in Barcelona to suggest that further groundbreaking technologies are on the horizon (checking out network sensing specified in future 6G standards, for example).  The mobile industry still has plenty up its sleeve to inspire us all, perhaps we just need to be more patient? And probably a lot more positive on the progress it has made so far.

Written by Paul Nolan


Get in touch to work with a world-class team of B2B tech marketers

Improve your industry reputation and influence, grow your customers base and drive investment through transformative integrated marketing.