AI takes center stage at MWC Las Vegas

  • AI demos will be loud 'n' proud at MWC Las Vegas

  • Expect more hype about GenAI and chatbots

  • Standalone 5G could also be a presence at the show

This week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in Las Vegas will be the first where artifical intelligence (AI) takes center stage.

“I expect a bunch of AI + networking tie ups (with Nvidia and perhaps other firms),” Roy Chua, principal analyst at AvidThink told Silverlinings in an email.

NeXt Curve analyst Leonard Lee concurred. “There’s going to be “lots of hype about generative AI-driven chatbots fueling chatbots 2.0.,” he wrote via email.

Silverlinings has already reported that operators like AT&T and BT have used generative AI (GenAI) to develop customer assistants.

“I think we'll see a bunch of similar GenAI applied to telco demos across the spectrum — sales, marketing, customer care, and assistance in network planning, monitoring, and troubleshooting,” at MWC, Chua said.

Cloud-native 5G in the glitter gulch

Despite the massive hype around AI, there will still be some talk about cloud-native standalone 5G in Vegas.

“How much MWC Americas will be about core versus RAN I think is a question,” Oku Solutions CEO & IEEE Senior Member, David Witkowski told us in conversation.

“I’m sure we’re likely to see some discussion on the core side,” he said, noting that the move to standalone 5G in the US has been fairly slow.

“In the US one of things that has been challenging for the 5G rollout has been the fact that some of the carrier cores were still being depreciated as tax assets,” he stated. “AT&T needed to depreciate its 4G core before it could move to 5G standalone.”

Now all of the major mobile network operators (MNOs) in the U.S. have some form of standalone 5G network up and running. As Witkowski said, however, that does not mean that the carriers, aside from Dish which is building a new standalone 5G network from scratch, have rolled out standalone in many areas of the States yet.

“Efforts to move from non-standalone (NSA) to a 5G and 5G standalone are critical especially as have 3GPPP Release 18 now and we need that core in order to leverage the capabilities within Release 18,” Witkowski said, noting that he hopes to see more announcements about standalone 5G at MWC.

3GPP Release 18 is also known as 5G-Advanced. ABI Research has said that latest version of 5G is expected to launch sometime in 2025.

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