Mobile World Congress to stay in Barcelona until 2030

Mobile World Congress

Rejoice, lovers of smartphones, mobile technology, and Barcelona: The Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile tech event, will keep taking place in Barcelona until at least 2030.

Wait, you may ask, isn’t this thing always taking place in Barcelona? Isn’t Barcelona the MWC city?

Not exactly. The MWC was inaugurally held in Rome in 1990, and it moved from city to city every year, including Berlin, Lisbon, Athens, and Madrid. It was then held in Cannes for ten years, until it finally settled in Barcelona in 2006, where it has been held ever since, but the partnership was set to expire in 2024.

According to the event’s organizer GSMA, the new deal was agreed upon at its Board meeting in Kuala Lumpur on June 27. “We’ve not just grown the event since our move to Barcelona but evolved it to include an entire ecosystem,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman, in a statement.

It’s true. I’ve covered the event for many years, and while the bulk of the conference is happening in Barcelona’s humongous Fira Gran Via venue, there are numerous auxiliary events and parties scattered across the city during the MWC’s duration. The MWC is also quite massive, with 109,000 people attending in 2019 according to GSMA, which is also a part of the reason why Barcelona and Fira are a good match for the conference.

In 2020, all of that screeched to a halt, with the MWC being one of the first major tech events to be canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A mini version of the conference was held in the summer of 2021, and in 2022 the MWC was again held in its typical time slot in spring, though with a smaller attendance.

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According to the GSMA, more about the partnership will be revealed at a press conference, to be held in Barcelona on July 20.

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