Friday, 24 February 2017

The 12th Edition of Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona

CNA

Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan capital will be, for the 12th consecutive year, home of the Mobile World Congress (MWC). More than 100,000 visitors are expected to visit the world’s largest event of the mobile and cell phone-related industries from the 27th of February to the 2nd of March. This year, and due to the international terrorist alert, the security measures will be strongly increased. For the first time ever, some of the access will be protected with bollards and concrete fences to prevent vehicles from bursting in the facilities. The security measures will go beyond the MWC’s venues and extend to the neighbouring areas and those aimed at holding parallel activities. The number of security officers in the public transport will also be increased during the MWC’s week. Last year, GSMA CEO John Hoffmann confirmed that the MWC will stay in Barcelona until 2023, maintaining the city’s reputation as a mobile centre of Europe.

2,200 companies are expected to attend the fair, amongst them international leading names in the mobile phone-related industry such as Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Twitter and ZTE, to name a few. The main absent this year will be Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder. On the other hand, Netflix’s founder and current CEO Reed Hastings and John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, the company behind ‘Pokémon Go’ will be amongst the most expected figures. 

This year, the number of Catalan companies represented at the fair will be the highest ever registered and total 106 businesses, exceeding the threshold of 100 for the first time, explained Catalan Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget. 68 of these companies will be located in the Catalan Government’s pavilion, which will be set up at the centre of Fira de Barcelona.

Some of the most innovative gadgets this year include virtual reality devices and 360º content, as well as the latest developments in the 5G network, expected to be available by 2020, and the Internet of Things.

Economic impact

The 11th edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) surpassed its record and registered 101,00 visitors, 6% more than last year’s edition. Barcelona’s community benefited greatly from the creation of over 13,000 part-time jobs, and close to €460 million in increased revenue.

The MWC’s organisers have already pre-booked 27,000 rooms in different hotels in Barcelona at a reduced price and some 40,000 are expected to stay at locations managed by Airb’n’b platform, which represents 33% increase in comparison to last year.

Transportation will be another key aspect and so far Spanish train operator RENFE already announced additional trains to cover the route from and to Barcelona El Prat airport.

  • MWC_17

  • Entrance to the MWC' main venue, at Fira de Barcelona (by ACN)

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