Insights from MWC19 Barcelona

MWC19 Barcelona (formerly known as Mobile World Congress) — the world’s biggest and most influential mobile event, took place from 25-28 February 2019. The GSMA estimates this year there were 109,000 visitors from more than 200 countries and territories.

This year’s show was titled MWC19 Barcelona: Intelligent Connectivity. It showcased “Real 5G,” foldable devices, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), automotive integration, drones, blockchain, policy and regulation, and many other topics. 2019 also marks the third year of the Women4Tech event, which focuses on reducing the gender gap and championing diversity in the mobile industry.

For those of us who weren’t able to make it to Barcelona, Women in Telecoms & Technology once again assembled a panel of experts to bring us news and views from the 2019 show.

WiTT founder and board director Stephanie Liston led our panel. She was  joined by:

  • Dr. Mike Short, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Trade;
  • Geraldina Iraheta, Director Of Business Development, Digital Catapult;
  • Louise Lancaster, 5G Testbeds & Trials / Joint Head of Barrier Busting Task Force at Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS);
  • Kim Viljoen, Insights Manager, Mobile for Development, GSMA; and
  • Gilli Coston, Senior Vice President – EMEA Sales, KORE Wireless.

(Full biographies are below.)

You can watch the video from the event on our YouTube channel:

WiTT would like to thank the Digital Catapult for hosting this event.


Speaker Biographies

Panel Chair
Stephanie Liston
International Strategic Advisor, Board Director, Lawyer and Regulator

Stephanie Liston is American and UK educated, and has lived and worked in the US, the UK and the British Virgin Islands. Stephanie works with businesses in many countries on multi jurisdictional projects and commercial transactions and providing strategic, regulatory and compliance advice. An acknowledged international expert in communications law and strategy with a keen understanding of all forms of technology.

Stephanie served as an Independent Member of the BT Equality of Access Board from 2013 to 2018, as Chief Legal Advisor to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in the British Virgin Islands from 2015 to 2017, as a non-executive director of Ofcom and as a member of its Audit Committee from 2005 to 2008, an advisory board member of Orga Systems GmbH from 2010 to 2014, a director of the European Competitive Telecommunications Association from 2000 to 2005, and co-chairman of the Communications Committee of the International Bar Association from 2004-2006. Stephanie is currently Chief Executive Officer of Sequoia Way Limited, Associate of Frontier Economics, Associate Director of Innovation Advisors, Senior Counsel to Coffey Graham (UK) Limited, advisory board member of Digi-Me Limited, founder and director of Women in Telecoms and Tec



Gilli Coston
Senior Vice President – EMEA Sales
KORE Wireless

Gilli Coston is the Senior Vice President, EMEA Sales at KORE where she is responsible for enabling high performance growth and delivering transformative business performance through IoT for customers and partners of KORE.

A senior leader in the fields of IoT, M2M, and telecoms, Gilli’s background spans three decades developing business and commercial partnerships and building high performing teams via continuous team learning, active coaching, and real-time 360 degree feedback. Gilli has held key roles such as Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director before transitioning to the role of Senior Vice President EMEA Sales.

Gilli is dedicated to promoting diversity and equality in the IoT space, focused on supporting KORE’s Sustainable Development Goals for improving health, well-being, and growing IoT communication and infrastructure in developing countries. Gilli is also a key sponsor of many Women in Technology initiatives, acting as a keen mentor for various Women in Technology groups and individuals.


Geraldina Iraheta
Director Of Business Development
Digital Catapult

Geraldina is responsible for business development at Digital Catapult. In her role she engages directly with UK corporates to help drive a culture of innovation and empower businesses to prosper and scale through the application of leading-edge digital technologies. She brings a wealth of experience to the business, having previously held key positions at Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile, as well as Critical Path Inc. in San Francisco. This level of expertise that Geraldina brings to Digital Catapult is further strengthened by her experience working with start-ups, academia and investors, both in the UK and internationally.


Louise Lancaster
5G Testbeds & Trials / Joint Head of Barrier Busting Task Force
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Louise spent more than 20 years in the telecoms industry in a variety of legal, regulatory and policy roles before joining the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in 2017. Louise is Joint Head of the Barrier Busting Task Force, leading on tackling barriers to deployment of mobile networks. She also works on mobile coverage and spectrum policy, and with the 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme.


Dr Mike Short, CBE FREng FIET
Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for International Trade

Dr Mike Short was appointed Chief Scientific Advisor at Dept for International Trade in November 2017, after close to four decades in Electronics and Telecommunications, mainly in Mobile Communications. After launching Cellnet`s 2G network Mike ran the Mobile strategy and external relations. He was appointed VP Technology for O2 Group in 2000 and subsequently VP of Public Affairs, Telefonica O2. Since 2008, Mike has also been appointed Visiting Professor at Surrey University, Lancaster, and Leeds Universities and to the Boards of Coventry University and Ravensbourne, Greenwich. He has served as a member of the UK Home Office Internet Task Force, the BEIS Advisory Board on London 2012 and chaired the Steering Board for Innovate UK supported ICT KTN.

Mike was elected President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology for 2011/2012, and is a former Chairman of the Mobile Data Association (MDA) and the global GSM Association.

Mike’s O2 focus latterly was on European Public policy related to innovation and investment, with a focus on advanced mobile services and data solutions (including 5G, IoT, Smart Metering, Transport Telematics and Connected Healthcare).

Mike was honoured with a CBE by the Her Majesty the Queen in June 2012 for services to the Mobile industry after 25 years mobile experience, and holds Honorary Doctorates from Staffordshire, Brunel and Kingston Universities.


Kim Viljoen
Insights Manager, Mobile for Development

Through research and analysis of trends within Digital Health, Kim generates intelligence on best practices and opportunities for the mHealth Programme and its stakeholders. As Insights Manager, she provides thought leadership on business models and implementation strategies for delivering impactful digital health solutions at scale. In her previous role as Business Intelligence Manager for the GSMA mNutrition Initiative, she managed the design and implementation of the business intelligence, and monitoring and evaluation work streams producing actionable insights to inform the optimisation of mHealth services across eight markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Kim holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch and a wealth of experience in the digital health and mobile telecoms industries. She is passionate about creating socio-economic impact in emerging markets.