Mobile World Congress 2020

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From February 25th to 28th the Mobile World Congress took place again in Barcelona, as every year since 2006. This event englobes almost every company related to mobile technology. It’s the most important globally, and those that do not come are an exception, like Apple. Those of Cupertino organize their own events and keynotes.
Do you think MWC is something modern that started in Barcelona? Read and be surprised.

In the early 80’s mobile telephony ceased to be a privilege for military, millionaires and top executives. The companies involved realized that it was necessary to agree on a global standard, so that telephone calls could have planetary coverage.
Thus, in 1982, the main manufacturers and operators came together to create the Global System for Mobile Association, or GSMA, creating the first congress in Rome in 1987. It passed through the cities of Nice, Berlin, Lisbon and Athens until arriving in Cannes in 1996, where it would stay for 10 years. It was then, in 2006, when GSM arrived in Barcelona.
It had a great reception from both the professionals and the 50,000 attendees, which already represented a record of the event. So much so that, in the 2011 edition, Barcelona was chosen « Mobile World Capital », since similar events were about to take place in other cities. The name of the congress also underwent changes: it was renamed 3GSM in the 2008 edition, by the newly born 3G Network. Two years later, riding 4G, and already talking about what the 5G Network could do, it was definitively called Mobile World Congress. The success of assistance and the good reception in the city lengthened it until 2015 when, to give stability, an agreement was signed with the municipalities of Barcelona and L’Hospitalet until 2023, that includes a greater perimeter of security, direct access to the metro network, a significant number of volunteers, tax benefits, and a welcome dinner with the presence of the King.

It is logical to think that mobile technology is too important in our society to be restricted to an annual event. Since 2014, GSMA has been organizing a MWC in Shanghai every June, and since 2016, another one in Los Angeles in September, although the association’s flagship continues to be Barcelona. Even at a city level, the importance of the event was considered in other different ways, which is why parallel events related to the MWC have been created: The 4YFN -4 Years From Now- has been held since 2014, a platform that allows in contact with startups, investors, corporations and public institutions to plan their technological future. And since 2017 Mobile Week has been held a week before the MWC, with the intention of bringing the news to the public, and that for the first time in 2019 has expanded through Catalonia with presentations in Igualada, Reus, Girona, Lleida and Ribera d’Ebre. The intention is for the Mobile Week to expand its land every year.

The 2019 MWC has finished with 120,000 m2 for 2,400 exhibitors, 3,640 accredited journalists, 14,000 direct jobs, more than 109,000 attendees (7,900 of them being CEO’s), and an economic impact of nearly 475 million euros. 5G technology has been the highlight, and all companies are improving their services and products to take profit of all what this broadband can provide toghether with AI systems. Mobility and environment will also be a must in future strategies, and we could see a remote surgery operation leaded from the Fira and executed in real time at the Barcelona Hospital Clínic. Great job. If you have the opportunity to be invited, or you can pay for an entry -the cheapest ones usually does not go below 700 euros-, you should not miss the event where you can see that almost everything your mind imagined, has already been made up.

By Alex Carbonell

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