Delmec in Spain: Team Report from GSMA Mobile World Congress 2023

Delmec has always been a company that likes to get out into the world. While a lot of our work takes place behind computers, in front of drawings, or 30 metres in the air, we enjoy meeting new clients, colleagues and customers. Major telecommunications events such as the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2023 (MWC23) represent great opportunities for our team to engage with other industry stakeholders, learning their pain points, solutions and upcoming plans.

“MWC23 helps to keep Delmec at the forefront of developments in the future,” Delmec CEO Kealan Delaney says.  “We get to see many emerging projects and cutting-edge concepts, which is an invaluable insight for us and our clients.”

The team travelled to Barcelona to attend the congress, welcomed by Senior Manager Spain Agustín Gómez Sáez, who was on hand to show his colleagues around his home city. They found GSMA 2023 busier than ever — the organisers’ first full-capacity event since the pandemic. “Halls were crowded, stands were flamboyantly dressed, and everyone was vying to show off what they had developed during lockdown,” recalls Head of Product Development Urban Solutions Andrew Griffin. “People were glad to meet face-to-face, shake hands and discuss our industry at length.”

Among the attendees were equipment vendors including Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia and ZTE, as well as antenna suppliers like Alpha-Wireless and Delmec clients such as Vodadone and Cellnex. “This is very much a home event for Cellnex, as their HQ is located less than 200m from the venue,” Andrew notes. “Their stand was a busy one, with suppliers and customers constantly coming and going.”

“Each year at MWC, there is a technology trend that catches our attention,” says Kealan. “Last year, that was Open RAN, and this year it was private 5G networks.” While Open RAN was still a feature for the smaller equipment vendors (and Vodafone, who demonstrated an interesting solution), private 5G was clearly the hot topic for most.

Multiple stands broadcasted their capabilities in this field, including hardware and software of varying types, as well as specific use cases and deployment strategies.

Among the antenna supplier stands there emerged a trend to assemble more equipment together on a structure, with a number of companies demonstrating 5G active antennas positioning behind passive antennas.

What this entails is a radio transparent passive antenna through which the active antenna can look. This allows installation of any vendor’s active antenna with that passive antenna; if two or more antennas can be incorporated into one case, the towerco may only have to pay for one space. It also means that the active or passive antenna can be swapped for maintenance reasons at a lower cost as only the items need to separate. However, the team did note that antenna assemblies are getting much larger and as such, will require more heavy duty connections to structures.

The Delmec team were quickly drawn to the Alpha Wireless stand, given our close relationship and ongoing collaboration. “We work together to develop innovative solutions for Cellnex Ireland,” Kealan says. “These include a site at Vicarstown, Co. Laois, and many more — all great examples of Irish companies coming together to connect our communities.”

Kealan and his team — including Senior Technical Consultant Krzysztof Ptak — concluded the event with much to think about. “It was a hectic few days, but a hugely valuable experience,” recalls Kealan. “As always, we were keen to share our experience and expertise, and also gain new insights and fresh knowledge. For example, we learned a great deal about new renewable power solutions, which are always of interest to our clients. As a result, we were able to bring loads back for our Telecoms Energy Consultant Natalia Kononovato review.”

“This is why we continue to take time out of our schedules, get on planes, and attend events like MWC23 — to constantly develop and improve our unique services, offering ever-advancing capabilities to our clients and increasing connectivity to their customers.”

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