Barcelona will carry on hosting the Mobile World Congress until 2030. The mobile industry association GSMA has designated the Catalan capital as the venue for the world major telephony congress for the next eight years, extending the contract that up till now expired in 2024. The agreement is the result of the work of Catalonia's Generalitat government, the Barcelona city council, the Spanish economy ministry, and Barcelona tourism and trade fair organizations, according to radio station RAC1.
In this way, GSMA extends the presence of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, an event that touched down in the city in 2006 and was held uninterruptedly until 2019, only being suspended due to Covid in 2020. In 2021 it resumed at half speed and this year, in 2022, it brought 60,000 visitors to the city. The support of the institutions at the show was crucial for the GSMA’s board of directors in approving the continuity of its commitment to a Barcelona base. This was emphasized by the president of the trade fair body Fira de Barcelona, Pau Relat, who highlighted the close cooperation that has been forged between the organizers of the congress and the city of Barcelona.
Barcelona and the Mobile, benchmarks
GSMA, for its part, stressed that the change of location from Cannes to Barcelona sixteen years ago allowed the Mobile World Congress to become a benchmark, with more than 109,000 visitors in 2019. The CEO of GSMA , John Hoffman highlighted in the statement the role of Barcelona as the host city of the congress known to locals as el Mobile: "Not only have we grown the event since our move to Barcelona, but we have made it evolve to include an entire ecosystem".
The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, welcomed the agreement on social media. "Barcelona and Catalonia ensure the celebration of the Mobile World Congress until 2030. Excellent news that positions us as a global technological benchmark. Thanks to all the team that has worked discreetly to make it possible!". In the same vein, Catalan vice president and digital policies minister, Jordi Puigneró, celebrated the agreement with the GSMA and stressed that the city "is consolidating itself as the world capital of the mobile". In a tweet, the vice president expressed his satisfaction that "good joint work has paid off."
For her part, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, also celebrated the Mobile World Congress and noted that in this way a "successful" relationship is consolidated. Speaking to Catalunya Ràdio, she explained that work has been done with great discretion and that difficult times have also been overcome thanks to the "unity" between the administrations and GSMA. Thus, she said that the links have become stronger and that its capital has been strengthened as a city of reference in the field of technology. For his part, the first deputy mayor, Jaume Collboni, said that this is very good news for the city and for the council's commitment to the digital economy and to talent as a way of transforming the city.
1,900 companies present in 2022
The most recent edition of the Mobile World Congress, held in March this year at the Fira de Barcelona, took place normally after three years of pandemic damage with the presence of more than 1,900 companies. It generated an economic impact of more than 240 million euros, with the creation of more than 6,700 part-time jobs. During the four days of the congress, more than 500,000 people attended almost every day as more than 1,000 speakers gave lectures, 97% of which were given in person.