The world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, Mobile World Congress (MWC), took place in Barcelona in the last week of February with more than 109,000 attendees. The main event was launched 32 years ago as GSM World Congress, and, as the most significant annual gathering of the telecommunication industry today, the extent of the exhibitors present always provides a good snapshot of the telecommunication industry Twenty years ago, European mobile service providers (MSPs), infrastructure vendors, and device manufacturers (such as Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia, and Siemens) clearly dominated MWC, and Europe was at the forefront of 2G capable devices and network deployments. More recently, however, European dominance of the equipment vendor market has ceased, as Chinese vendors have risen and Europe-based MSPs have performed poorly in the last decade compared to their counterparts in other parts of the world. This trend doesn’t seem likely to change soon: ABI Research expects the lowest mobile service revenue growth between 2019 and 2023 to be in Eastern Europe (1.2%) and Western Europe (1.8%), while North American (5.2%), African (4.6%), and/or Middle Eastern (4.8%) rivals are expected to do significantly better.
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