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Report From Mobile World Congress 2016


The Mobile World Congress (MWC) takes place annually in Barcelona. RIPE NCC staff members attended this event and the adjoining Mobile World Summit, the ministerial programme organised by our colleagues of the GSMA that brings regulators, government officials and public policy experts together to discuss mobile industry developments.

While very loosely defined, it is clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly taking off in a broad spectrum of applications and sectors, from wearables to home automation, innovative transport solutions and health care applications.

Many discussions at the ministerial programme focused on the rapid developments surrounding IoT and the challenges for industry and policy makers. While operators in many regions still face rapid shifts from a traditional telecoms service to a more data connection oriented business model, the increased demand for spectrum and the introduction of new technologies such as 5G and dedicated IoT networks such as Extended Coverage GPRS (EC-GPRS) ask for substantial investments.

The use of traditional telecoms technology in different sectors mean that many regulators are looking at ways to incorporate these new innovative uses into existing public policy frameworks while still achieving objectives such as open and fair competition and public safety.

While IP and other Internet technologies form the basis of many of these innovations, the Internet itself has become a commodity and the presence of IP connectivity is a given. While everybody agrees that billions of devices and humans will connect to our networks in the next decade, the adoption of IPv6 is not the centre of the conversation. There is awareness of IPv6 but when it comes to deployment, people often refer to the choices the equipment manufacturers and carriers make. They then cite a lack of demand from the market as the primary reason for IPv6 not being available or when the available IPv6 features are not being used.

While engaging with the different actors in the value chain, it became clear that the benefits of IPv6 are not obvious to everybody and that we still face several challenges with dependencies between those actors before IPv6 becomes the global Internet protocol.

Finally it was great to see so many of our members' businesses thriving at their busy booths at the trade show. Attending MWC and the ministerial programme together was informative and we would like to congratulate our colleagues at the GSMA on a successful event.