IEEE Global Communications Conference 2023 (GLOBECOM 2023): 8–12 December 2023, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

By Borhanuddin Mohd Ali - Executive Co-Chairs, Hikmet Sari - Executive Co-Chairs, Khaled B. Letaief - General Chair, Nordin Ramli - Industrial Forum & Exhibit Co-Chair and Stefano Bregni Bregni - Technical Program Co-Chair

On 4–8 December 2023, IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 unfolds with grandeur in the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, welcoming more than 2,000 attendees among research scholars, industry experts, and governmental representatives worldwide.

Group photo of the GLOBECOM 2023 Organizing Committee on stage at the Conference Banquet. From left to right: Robert Schober (ComSoc President 2024-26), Luis M. Correia, Linda Xie, Borhanuddin Mohd Ali, Hikmet Sari, Khaled B. Letaief, Stefano Bregni, Nordin Ramli, Sherman Shen (ComSoc President 2022-23).

IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 was held in the impressive location provided by the award-winning Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC), located at the footsteps of the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers, which are the most iconic landmark of the capital city of Malaysia.

Stefano Bregni (right) and Linda Xie (left), Technical Program Co-Chairs, presenting the Technical Program at the Plenary Session.

Conveniently located right in the middle of the Malay Peninsula, Kuala Lumpur is a busy, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic city, where skyscrapers and small houses, highways and narrow streets, green parks, colonial and modern architecture, street markets, mosques, and temples mingle in a unique exotic blend, active 24/24 hours day and night.

Right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, KLCC is a five-level large complex, capable of hosting conferences with up to 20,000 attendees, and featuring a wide range of facilities including a Grand Ballroom, a Banquet Hall, three Conference Halls, 8 Exhibition Halls, and 23 meeting rooms.

GLOBECOM 2023: A ComSoc Flagship Conference Is Back to Kuala Lumpur Seven Years After ICC 2016

Hikmet Sari, Executive Co-Chair, introduced Keynote Speakers at the Plenary Session.

IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 is the second time that a flagship conference of the IEEE Communications Society was hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, just seven years after ICC 2016.

The grand opening ceremony of IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 marked the culmination of years of meticulous planning and dedication, preceded by periods of uncertainty and anxiety.

Undertaking another big task of hosting such a conference, so soon after ICC 2016, was a bold decision that initially raised eyebrows to many. We first expressed our intention at ICC 2017 in Paris, France, at the GIMS meeting after presenting our report of (ça va sans dire, extremely successful) ICC 2016. After much soul-searching and several presentations for about two years, we were eventually awarded the hosting of IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 in Kuala Lumpur.

Khaled B. Letaief, General Chair, speaking at the Plenary Session.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 posed unforeseen challenges, forcing us to rethink our plans and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Despite initial uncertainties, the gradual easing of travel and meeting restrictions allowed us to proceed confidently, ensuring that the conference would be held in full physical presence, with few and limited exceptions.

The early signs of a revival of the good old days were announced by the overwhelming response to the GLOBECOM 2023 Call for Papers: more than 3,200 papers were submitted by the end of the final deadline, after two extensions! A record number in the history of GLOBECOM and ICC.

Conference Facts

Malaysian traditional handicrafts and music demonstrations at the Welcome Reception.

The overwhelming complexity of the challenge of organizing GLOBECOM 2023 cannot be appreciated without giving some numbers, beginning with the overall number of attendees registered for the conference: 2,191.

The Technical Program of IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 featured 13 Technical Symposia, 22 Workshops, and 20 Tutorials, which covered nearly all research and development topics in communications, networking, and new emerging technologies. Plenary sessions featured 7 keynote talks, given by eminent speakers from industry (4) and from academia (3). In parallel to Technical Symposia, the Industry Program featured Panels, Executive Forums, and presentations.

The IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 Technical Symposia received the record number of 3,217 paper submissions (the second highest in the whole history of GLOBECOM and ICC), out of which 1,262 papers were accepted for presentation and publication in the Conference Proceedings, with an average acceptance ratio below 40%.

The review process involved thousands of volunteers. Coordinated by the three Technical Program Co-Chairs, Stefano Bregni, Linda Xie, and Rose Hu, the Technical Program Committee (TPC) included 53 Symposium Co-Chairs, 2,560 TPC Members, and 3,805 regular reviewers. In total, 11,244 reviews were completed for all eligible submissions, with an average of 3.53 reviews completed per paper.

IEEE GLOBECOM 2023 has been truly a global conference. The 3,217 papers were submitted by authors from 76 countries from all regions of the world. Although the balance was tipped towards the East, all regions have been represented: almost sixty percent of papers were submitted from Asia-Pacific, almost one-fourth from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and the others from North and Latin America.

Also, the roster of Platinum Patrons reflects the world scope of IEEE GLOBECOM 2023: Huawei, Technology Innovation Institute, Qualcomm, and ZTE have their headquarters in China, Abu Dhabi, and the USA, but are truly global organizations.

Welcome Reception

The Welcome Reception, held at the end of the first day of the conference (Monday 4th December), showcased the rich variety of Malaysian cuisines and handicrafts, accompanied by live traditional and contemporary music, under the radiant lighting of the Banquet Hall. This Hall has been very much the nerve center of the conference, where coffee breaks were held and attendees could roam around the booths while enjoying their refreshments, or simply chatting with friends and acquaintances. Hands-on stations were dotted around the hall and the corridor, inviting attendees to try their hands at making various local handicrafts, courtesy of the Malaysian Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), a Malaysian government agency supporting this event.

The General Chair, Khaled B. Letaief, went on stage to welcome the attendees, followed by Sherman Shen, the ComSoc President, and then Hikmet Sari and Borhanuddin Mohd Ali, the two Executive co-chairs, and finally by Stefano Bregni, Technical Program Co-Chair. There was an endless flow of mouth-watering cuisines representing the best of Malaysia, together with some international foods, various types of sweets and savories, cookies, plus renowned local specialties Indian-style Roti Canai (pronounced Rotee Char-Nigh) and Chinese-style fried Kuey Tiaw.

The attendees reveled in the opportunity to reconnect with old acquaintances and forge new ones until late into the evening while seizing the moment to capture memories through photographs against the backdrop of the glittering Petronas Twin Towers.

Socializing aside, there were other more serious matters hosted in the hall — a few exhibition booths for patron companies to showcase their company products, renowned research centers to showcase their research activities, and test equipment manufacturers to showcase their latest products, plus two immediate ComSoc conferences of ICC 2024 in Denver and GLOBECOM 2024 in Cape Town.

During the coffee breaks, exhibitors and patrons were given the stage to present their activities and products. The interactive presentation sections were also set up with large LCDs for authors to present their works and discuss them in greater detail with interested attendees.

Awards Luncheon

The Awards Luncheon, held at the end of the second day of the conference (Tuesday 5th December), is another cherished tradition of GLOBECOM to honor members, whose contributions have enriched the value of ComSoc. Besides the prestigious awards to volunteers, recognizing their tireless efforts to advance the goals of ComSoc, MGA Chapter-of-the-Year Awards were given to outstanding Chapters of the four Regions, to recognize Chapters that have fostered community engagement and members’ professional development. The CoY Award for the Asia-Pacific Region was given to the Malaysia Chapter, for the third time. Again, the 500 attendees were entertained with a sumptuous blend of local and international cuisines as they sat to celebrate the achievements of their peers.


The centerpiece of the conference was the banquet at the end of the third day of the conference (Wednesday 6th December), another much-coveted ComSoc conference tradition. Despite the heavy tropical downpour happening outside right at the same time, almost one thousand enthusiastic attendees were seated in the hall well ahead of time in anticipation of a memorable evening. The full-capacity 950 diners were treated to a lavish ten-course Chinese dinner, served one or two courses at a time to the 95 round Chinese-style tables.

Intermissions were introduced midway through the courses to make way for the customary ComSoc ceremonies, the first one of which was the welcoming remark by the ComSoc President Sherman Shen, followed by the General Chair Khaled Letaief. Next, the program featured the ceremonial handing-over of the conference globe from the General Chair of GLOBECOM 2023 to the General Chair of ICC 2024 Denver, symbolizing the seamless transition of the conference series. This was followed by video presentations of Denver and Cape Town, the two cities hosting the next two conferences ICC 2024 and GLOBECOM 2024.

During this intermission, appreciation plaques and mementos were also presented to the main organizing committee (OC) members, appreciating their enduring efforts to ensure the conference’s success. The plaques were crafted from local timber, and the mementos comprised batik fabric encased in a wooden box adorned with wood-based art. The fabrics are ready to be turned into garments and dresses at the tailor. The main OC team was photographed on stage with the outgoing and incoming ComSoc Presidents, honoring their magnificent work in delivering the magnificent event.

The banquet was animated by cultural dances portraying the potpourri of ethnic grouping in Malaysia comprising Malay, Chinese, Indian, and the Sabah and Sarawak subethnic groups of Kadazan and Dusun and a few others.

Other Social Events

To close the fourth day of the conference, an appreciation dinner was held at Chef Wan restaurant for the key members of the Organizing Committee and Technical Program Committee, who had contributed selflessly towards the success of the conference. Chef Wan is a local celebrity chef with an international reputation, famous for his TV shows on Malay cuisine.

A forgotten innovation, the lucky draw, was reintroduced adding an element of excitement to the Exhibit, offering attendees the chance to win IT gadgets such as Bluetooth devices and cultural artifacts. Attendees need to scan QR codes placed strategically all around the conference venue, and manually key in their identities, which immediately entered them into the particular session database. Six lucky draw sessions were held throughout the conference, made electronically at the end of each coffee break.


In conclusion, GLOBECOM 2023 stands as a resounding success, leaving an indelible mark on the technical community. It is with resounding certainty that we consider it an absolute triumph, leaving no room for doubt that those who had the misfortune of missing it have missed out on an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. This conference proved to be a resounding success on multiple fronts, exceeding all expectations and setting a new benchmark for excellence in the realm of technical conferences.

GLOBECOM 2023 not only showcased a remarkable array of technical presentations, but it also served as a catalyst for promoting cutting-edge technologies and fostering innovation. The depth and breadth of the technical programs were unparalleled, offering valuable insights and groundbreaking advancements in various fields. The conference served as a platform for sharing knowledge, igniting intellectual discussions, and inspiring attendees to push the boundaries of their respective disciplines.

Beyond the outstanding technical content, GLOBECOM 2023 fostered a spirit of collaboration and camaraderie that was truly remarkable. Attendees were greeted with a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, creating a conducive environment for networking, forging new connections, and nurturing existing collaborations. The conference provided a melting pot of brilliant minds, fostering interdisciplinary interactions and sparking new ideas that have the potential to shape the future of research and technological development.

None of this would have been possible without the exceptional efforts and dedication of the incredible team behind GLOBECOM 2023. Their tireless work, meticulous planning, and attention to detail ensured that every aspect of the conference was flawlessly executed. From the seamless logistics to the engaging sessions and the vibrant social events, the team’s unwavering commitment to excellence was evident at every turn.