What Happened at MWC Barcelona (Mobile World Congress) 2023?

MWC Barcelona (formerly known as Mobile World Congress) is, according to the GSMA, “the industry’s largest and most influential connectivity event, where tens of thousands of senior executives from the top global companies, international governments and trailblazing tech businesses converge to make decisions.” MWC23 ran from 27 February to 3 March; this year’s theme was Velocity. The GSMA saw a resurgence in visitor numbers this year, with more than 88,500 attendees from 202 countries. Twenty-three percent of those at the event were woman.

For the past 11+ years, Women in Telecoms & Technology has hosted a post-MWC event to provide news and views from the show for those of us who weren’t able to make it to Barcelona. We were pleased to be able to host this event again this year; as a hybrid in-person/Zoom discussion.

Our panel was chaired by Linda Ligios, Senior Innovation Partner – Team Lead at the Digital Catapult. Our speakers were:

  • Anne Chitan, Partner, Global Co-Head of Communications, TMC, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP;
  • Mike Short, Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for International Trade; and
  • Kim Viljoen, Market Engagement Director, GSMA.

Pictured from left: Kim Viljoen, Mike Short, Anne Chitan and Linda Ligios

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

You can view a video of the discussion here: https://youtu.be/Go3h0y714xE

Speaker Bios

Panel Chair

Linda Ligios
Senior Innovation Partner, Digital Catapult

Linda Ligios is Sr Innovation Partner – Team Lead at Digital Catapult where she leads the delivery of a number of Digital Catapult large-scale ecosystem building programmes in the areas of telecom and open infrastructure. She has a background in business and innovation consulting, digital transformation, project management, marketing and digital media.

She draws her experience from 15+ years of commercial and stakeholder management expertise working in various capacities for some of Britain’s most iconic institutions including BBC, British Library and King’s College London.

Linda has participated in several European and national R&D programmes focusing on the development of advanced digital technologies and ecosystem building. This includes the industrial 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme set out by DCMS (now DSIT) to demonstrate the value of 5G in manufacturing and logistics and the recently launched SONIC Labs programme delivering advancements in Open RAN technology, a key pillar in UK Government’s 5G Diversification Strategy.



Anne Chitan
Global Co-Head of Communications, TMC

Cristina is the Director of Spectrum policy and analysis, Spectrum Group at Ofcom and is also a NED of the Energy System Catapult. Cristina currently leads our work on 5G and other wireless broadband technologies, considering the increasing role of wireless in enabling digital transformation across a wide variety of industry sectors and with a focus on assessing the implications of growing demand on future spectrum policies. Prior to working on 5G, Cristina led the development of a new spectrum sharing framework, and launched Ofcom open data policy. In particular Cristina was responsible for the release of the UK Interactive spectrum map and the release of information on spectrum use in open format. Prior to joining Ofcom Cristina held various marketing and strategy roles at Telefonica O2 (group strategy functions), EE (then Orange, in finance and marketing), and Red Bee Media (strategy and market intelligence functions ). Cristina holds a Master Degree in Management Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino university in Italy.

Dr Mike Short, CBE FREng FIET
Chief Architect, Satellites Applications Catapult; former CSA DBT; former Chairman GSMA

Dr Mike Short CBE, after 30 years in telecommunications with Telefonica, joined the Department for International Trade (DIT) as the Department’s first Chief Scientific Adviser in December 2017. Until recently Mike led the Science and Engineering profession in the Department and ensures its policy is informed by the best science, engineering and technical advice.

He advised DIT on the technical aspects of international trade deals, supports inward investment and engineering collaboration, and works with the UK’s research, innovation and academic communities to boost scientific and engineering exports.

Mike has over 40 years’ experience in electronics and telecommunications and served as Vice President of Telefonica, the parent company of the O2 mobile phone network, for 17 years to December 2016. In this post, he managed the launch of 2G (GSM) and 3G mobile technologies in the UK, established an office in Brussels, and went on to lead international research, innovation and standards for Telefonica Europe.

Mike’s career includes the promotion of international technical standards in mobile and digital technology. He is a former Chairman of the Global GSM Association, the UK Mobile Data Association, and was President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in 2011/2012.

He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Surrey, Coventry, Leeds and Salford. He has led the development and collaborations in areas such as smart cities, digital healthcare, cybersecurity and driverless vehicles.

He was honoured with a CBE in 2012 for his services to the mobile industry.

Kim Viljoen
Market Engagement Director, GSMA

Kim joined the Assistive Tech team in 2019, supporting Mobile for Development’s efforts to drive social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities through innovative digital solutions. In her role as Senior Market Engagement Manager Kim leads the development of the market engagement strategy and advocacy agenda to advance inclusion for persons with disabilities through mobile.

Prior to joining the Assistive Tech team, as an Insights Manager for the mHealth Programme, Kim provided thought leadership on business models and implementation strategies for delivering impactful digital health solutions at scale. Kim also previously worked as Business Intelligence Manager for the GSMA mNutrition Initiative. In this role 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.