The Mobile World Congress comes of age in Barcelona

Just a few hours before the new edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) begins, Barcelona is already presenting its best clothes to welcome technology companies, about 2,400, from more than 200 countries that will show the latest trends in technology.

The Mobile expects the arrival of between 95,000 and 96,000 visitors, a figure significantly higher than the 2024 edition, when 88,500 people visited. However, the data is still far from the memory of 109,000 visitors in 2019, before the pandemic. What has become clear is that the MWC will once again be a congress far beyond mobile phones. In fact, more than 40% of visitors are not directly linked to this industry but in technological sectors such as health, fintech, entertainment industries, etc. “We are the platform that makes different industries flourish,” said the general director of GSMA (organizer of the congress), Mats Granryd.

In fact, during the Mobile the first flying car from the Alef company Aeronautics and a 10-meter hydrogen support boat that will be used by the New Zealand sailing America's Cup team. There will also be talk about artificial intelligence (AI) applications and continuity will be given to the Open Gateway, the agreement between large telecommunications operators to open their own network to develop applications. We will find many of the curiosities of the fair in Hall 6. The “Journey to the future” will be located there, a trip to the future that aims to be a compilation of everything that is to come or that could be a reality one day. Among others, the prototype of the first electric flying car will be presented.

The show brings together all the big brands in the sector, such as Google, IBM, Samsung and Huawei, which will have the largest stand at the fair. China telecom and the fiber optic specialist YOFC will also be there for the first time. In fact, initial fears that the slowdown in the Chinese economy could affect the event have not come to pass, and the number of Asian attendees is expected to be the same as last year. “We will unify the technological world in Barcelona,” said Granryd.

This year 10 years of 4 Years from Now are celebrated, the space for emerging talent and entrepreneurship that we will find in pavilion 8. The growth of 4YFN and the show highlights the need for more space. For this reason, GSMA management celebrates the planned expansion at the Fira de Barcelona. It is one more incentive that connects them to the city. The CEO, John Hoffman, has expressed several times his desire for the MWC to remain in Barcelona, ​​headquarters since 2006, but has also warned that, however, nothing can be taken for granted.

In this dance of figures, the Catalan Federation of Associations of Restaurant and Musical Activities (Fecasarm) has estimated the turnover of bars, restaurants and hotels in Barcelona at 105 million euros on the occasion of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, which will be held at Fira Barcelona's Gran Via venue from Monday, February 26 to Thursday, February 29. He has predicted that each person will spend about 300 euros and has opened the door to exceeding his global billing estimate “thanks to the fact that a significant portion of the attendees will already begin to arrive” this weekend, according to Fecasarm. They assure that the billing “will be distributed throughout all areas” of Barcelona: they expect that the most central locations will register around 80% and that the rest will be distributed throughout other areas of the city and in peripheral municipalities.

El Mobile generates more than 9,100 temporary jobs inside the facility, with very diverse profiles, from drivers to architects, designers, engineers, computer scientists, carpenters, journalists, cleaners and security personnel, among others. With 240,000 gross m2 of exhibition space, Fira de Barcelona's Gran Via venue is one of the most modern in existence, equipped since the pandemic with technology that allows assembly times to be reduced by around 40%. It also has 26,000 solar panels installed on the roofs of the pavilions.