Foto: Mobile World Congress 2022.
The Mobile World Congress, the most important event for the connectivity industry, is now in its 17th edition in Barcelona and, far from establishing itself elsewhere, has confirmed its permanence in the city until 2030.
The Smart City World Congress, the 4YFN, the ISE, IOT World Congress, IBTM and the Mobile World Congress are all major international congresses capable of attracting visitors from all kinds of sectors. What they have in common is that all of them have been held in Barcelona. Barcelona’s aim is to become the European hub for high profile events in the sector, a goal that the city is right on track to meet.
According to data from Fira de Barcelona, each year, this strategic sector generates more than 150 direct exhibitors and 2.5 million promotional activities in the city, bringing in some 4.7 billion euros, and 2023 will be no exception. Following the ISE, the world’s leading audiovisual fair, Barcelona will open its doors at the end of February to possibly its most important congress: the Mobile World Congress 2023. Mobile World Congress 2023.
Between February 27 and March 2, Fira de Barcelona will welcome more than 80,000 people to the fairgrounds in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The organizer of the event, GSMA estimates that the congress will generate around 350 million euros and approximately 7,400 part-time jobs. It will attract 2,000 companies from a number of different ecosystems, some 1,000 speakers, and technology giants such as Amazon, Telefónica, Meta, Microsoft, Samsung, and Huawei.
There will also be a plethora of programs, networking events, conferences, meetings, afterwork activities, and, of course, innovations such as the “Journey to the Future,” an immersive space in Hall 6 that will showcase ground-breaking developments from the health, sustainability, sports, mobility, entertainment, retail, and robotics sectors.
Barcelona, permanent headquarters of the MWC
In June 2022, the organizers, GSMA, reached an agreement with Barcelona. Constantí Serrallonga, CEO of Fira de Barcelona, confirmed last year that it had “signed a contract that is intended to be ongoing” and that, therefore, there will be a system of automatic tacit renewals that will start 2030.” This will make Barcelona 'the permanent headquarters of the MWC.'
This is extraordinarily important news, since the accumulated impact of the MWC to date (the first congress in Barcelona was held in 2006) has already brought some 5.4 billion euros, and 141,000 part-time jobs, establishing Barcelona’s place on the global technology map.
Technology is constantly developing, and much will change between now and 2023, but one thing is clear, and that is that the city of Barcelona will be there to witness the changes first hand.
'Speed', the engine of the congress
If we go back to the first edition in 1987, the main objective of the MWC was to establish its place at the heart of mobile telephony. The congress has been able to adapt to the needs of the consumer and to the demands of society and has gradually opened its doors to other technology sectors that have grown in importance in the last few years. These include other forms of telecommunications, sustainable technology, and the recent development of the metaverse.
In 2023, the congress will focus on the extension of internet access. The main theme, “Speed,” revolves revolve around five key areas that will generate debate: 5G acceleration, Reality+, OpenNet, FinTech and Digital Everything. Within the framework of the program, guided tours will be offered as an opportunity to demonstrate projects such as “Feel the Tech” along with panels such as DayOne: Legal and Tax Issues of the Startup Law. Next Steps? and the 'Startup Law: why talent and companies will like Barcelona even more.” a session in the 4YFN conference in which Barcelona Global will be taking part.
The congress will see the return of Industry City, a display designed to show off innovations in FinTech, Manufacturing and Smart Mobility and expected to interest anyone interested in the digitalization of industry. For the first time, the Tomorrow Congress, in collaboration with FC Barcelona, will also take place at the same time as the MWC. This will be a unique opportunity to identify new business opportunities and create synergies between the sports and mobile ecosystems.
The MWC is also an opportunity for professionals in the sector to meet and enjoy more relaxed networking events such as Beat Barcelona, which will offer culinary events and daily live concerts provided by the music festivals Cruilla, Mira, Sónar and Plastic Academy.
Technology, collaborations and much more
One of the most interesting aspects of the Mobile World Congress is its multi-disciplinarity; the congress offers the chance to attend a range of acts, presentations, and events that provide a multifaceted vision of our entire environment.
Since Barcelona is one of the favorite cities in Europe in which to start a company (according to the Startup Heatmap Europe report in 2022) 4YFN, the leading event for startups, will be held between February 27 and March 2, 2023 in order to help foment relationships between new businesses and potential investors.
This year, up to 27 startups participated by some of Telefónica's investment vehicles are expected to take part, as well as numerous talks focused on the transformation of networks and services into software platforms, the influence of telecommunications and investment in the metaverse, among many others.
Find out more about progress in the sector in the session entitled “the Startup Law: why talent and companies will like Barcelona even more,” which is to be delivered by our project director Cristina H Valiñani at the Banco Sabadell BStartup stand. In addition, our CEO, Mercè Conesa will also participate in Caixabank's DayOne panel on “Legal and Tax Issues of the new Startups Law. Next Steps?”