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Five Major Trends Observed at MWC 2024: MIC
March 20, 2024

AI Emerges as the Key Foundation of Future Communication Industry, Revolutionizing Mobile Experience

The Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC) sent our analysts to participate in MWC 2024 in Spain this year, and they have returned with five key industry trends observed during the exhibition. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as the focal point of this year's event, serving as the crucial foundation underpinning various chips, devices, application services, and terminal devices. The five key trends are as follows:

Source: MIC, March 2024

Trend One: AI Applications Reshaping Smartphone User Experience; More Mid to High-End AI Phones Expected This Year

MIC notes that AI-driven applications for mobile devices have become a focal point. Three key AI applications—image generation, text summarization, and smart search—are transforming user experiences. For instance, they address pain points such as irrelevant elements in photos, summarize lengthy articles with a single command, and enable quick content recognition and search through camera integration. Senior industry analyst Rachel Liao predicts that with leading smartphone brands unveiling the latest AI phones and hardware specifications upgrading alongside AI model optimizations, AI phone penetration will increase in 2024, extending beyond flagship models to mid to high-end ones. Moreover, the observation focus in the European and American markets for 2024 will be on collaborations between satellite providers like SpaceX and AST SpaceMobile and major mobile operators, aiming to offer commercial services without the need for users to change their phones.

Trend Two: Mobile Communications Industry Actively Transitioning with AI as Key Driver in 2024

MIC indicates that the mobile communications industry continues to face challenging environments in 2024, with leading European and American telecom operators maintaining or even reducing capital expenditures, which impacts the equipment industry. To navigate these challenges, telecom giants are not only refining communication technologies and investing in next-generation wireless technologies but also deepening their AI integration. Industry consultant Chang Chia-wei highlights the incorporation of AI by telecom equipment providers to dynamically allocate resources and enhance network service efficiency. They're also leveraging AI for energy efficiency, aiding in network management, and quickly troubleshooting or resolving management issues. The discussion around AI applications for network automation management and data center service support is intensifying among operators, aiming to accelerate operational and service transformation. As many terminal equipment manufacturers adopt AI-driven technologies and release consumer electronics and AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) devices, how telecom operators utilize these devices and integrate them with existing service offerings becomes a key area to watch. AI will play a pivotal role in the mobile communications industry in 2024, especially in areas like 5G+AI, smart city applications, and the development strategies of major players for large language models.

Trend Three: Mobile Communications System Providers to Offer Customized Solutions for Telecom Operators in 2024

MIC anticipates that with global 5G commercialization entering the midterm phase, more mobile operators worldwide will upgrade from 5G NSA (Non-Standalone) to 5G SA (Standalone) networks by 2024 while also moving towards the next-generation B5G networks. The promotional focus of mobile communication system providers is shifting from 5G NSA to 5G SA solutions. Senior industry analyst Kay Chung foresees system providers incorporating evolving technologies such as network slicing, massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output), and AI-driven applications like ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance), digital twins, and edge computing. These developments will enable providers to offer new network architectures and operation management platforms to telecom operators, providing more customized 5G public/private network solutions in the form of single products or bundled packages to attract more telecom operators for collaboration.

Trend Four: 2024 Marks a New Turning Point for 5G Networks; Chip Manufacturers' Competition Enters a New Chapter

MIC reveals that leading mobile communication terminal chip manufacturers are focusing on the development of the latest wireless technologies such as B5G (Beyond 5G)/6G and Wi-Fi 7 (Wireless-Fidelity 7). Several companies are integrating AI/ML (Machine Learning) technologies to optimize the transmission performance and power consumption of various 5G devices. As more mobile operators transition to 5G SA networks and move towards B5G networks, chip manufacturers will showcase better support capabilities for technologies like network slicing, massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), and Open RAN (Random Access Network). Furthermore, developments in system-side components like core networks, edge network devices, and small base stations, coupled with the expansion of transmission frequencies and support for B5G applications like XR (Extended Reality), satellite bidirectional communication, autonomous driving, and precise positioning, will create mutually reinforcing product specifications and shipment demand, potentially generating more promising growth opportunities.

Senior industry analyst Kay Chung emphasizes that the trend of edge AI and AI-driven AIoT devices, from the new generation of smartphones to standalone AI devices and Vision Pro, revitalizes consumer electronics and presents opportunities and challenges for chip manufacturers. Embedding these technologies into existing and new application terminal processor platforms will be a crucial issue. It is expected that the wave of new technologies in 2024 will bring a new outlook for 5G development, leading to new dynamics in the competition among chip manufacturers.

Trend Five: Huawei's High-Profile Products Once Again Impacts the Telecommunication Equipment Market

Huawei's grand presence at this year's event, showcasing not only smartphone products but also technologies such as 5.5G, RedCap, AI-driven applications, and satellite communications entering commercial stages, signifies its continuous overcoming of upstream component barriers. MIC anticipates that with its accumulated network construction cases and experience in cooperation with enterprise clients, Huawei's highly vertical integration and end-to-end solutions showcased at the exhibition will once again impact the telecommunication equipment market.

About Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC):

Established in 1987, Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC) is a division of III (Institute for Information Industry), a major government think tank, and one of the leading IT research institutes in Taiwan. MIC specializes in industry and market research. With over three decades of experience, MIC provides valuable insights and data-driven recommendations to assist businesses in making informed decisions.

To know more about this topic, please visit: Global PC, Server, and Smartphone Five-Year Forecast, 2023-2027Development of the Taiwan Information and Communications Technology Industry, 2023 and BeyondDevelopment of Taiwan 5G FWA CPE Industry and Global Outlook, 1H 2023 and Beyond (pre-order)

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