Ah Barcelona! A city of contrasts. 

From the medieval wonders of the gothic quarter, to the AI-driven high tech of this year’s resurgent Mobile World Congress. It all just seems like a sip of Cortado away!

Nonetheless, we’ve all returned to our drab little lives and vastly inferior coffee.

So, its obviously time to ask some analysts who were there what they thought was the important cloud-native 5G announcement — or product — at the show. Here’s a selection from the — uh — big brains:

A standalone slowdown?

Despite lots of activity on launching new 5G standalone (SA) networks in the last quarter of 2022, Dave Bolan, research director at Dell’Oro Group, told Silverlinings that his group was disappointed by the lack of 5G SA trial and launch announcements at MWC. “We were surprised that there were not more [mobile network operators] MNOs announcing their plans to launch 5G standalone networks, especially in Europe,” he said in an email.

The one big 5G SA launch Silverlinings spotted at the show was from Orange. The operator announced plans to launch 5G SA in Spain this year with Ericsson.

Getting an API connection?

Open APIs were being lauded at the show as a way to enable third-party applications to make use of a 5G network. Having APIs in their 5G network will allow operators to work with developers when they create new applications.

Daryl Schoolar, program VP for worldwide telecom at IDC, told us that he considered 5G APIs the most important news at MWC. “Every company had an API story,” Schoolar said.

He highlighted the GSMA Open Gateway announcement as the most significant API program so far. The initiative has already signed on 21 major mobile operators.

Step on it!

Several analysts were keen on using hardware accelerators to speed up virtualized radio access networks (vRANs). Fujitsu, Intel, Marvell, Nvida and others are supplying the accelerator silicon.

“The accelerators are an area where there is pent-up demand from those who want to get vRAN moving,” Caroline Gabriel, networks expert at Analysis Mason told us.

Prakash Sangam, founder and principal at Tantra Analyst, was impressed with Marvell’s Octeo10Fusion for vRAN/OpenRAN L-1 accelerators. “This is what Nokia will be using and supported by many players, including Dell,” Sangram said. 

Celeron fan and principal analyst for mobile networks at Heavy Reading, Gabriel Brown fancied the Intel alternative. “The Intel vRAN boost demo was good,” he wrote to Silverlinings. “Especially because it showed how micro power savings (what Intel calls C-states) can get up to a significant power reduction over the course of a day. Ericsson had a similar demo using Intel and AMD on its booth.”

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