The GSMA is celebrating the safe and successful return of MWC Barcelona, the world's largest mobile ecosystem event. The hybrid event took place in the last week of June, both in-person and virtually. MWC21 was different from past editions. The first physical-virtual event of its kind saw executives, exhibitors and sponsors taking in keynotes, networking, visiting exhibits and deal-making over four days.
Highlights of MWC21:
- Over 20,000 people attended in-person
- Around 100,000 unique virtual and daily viewers on MWC21 and partner platforms
- Representation from around 165 countries and territories, 117 of those in-person
- Over 1000 exhibitors, sponsors and partners
- Millions could tune into MWC21 content through global syndication via 1000+ national and international broadcasters
- Over 50% of attendees were Directors
- 1,500 CEOs and C-Suite executives among attendees
It is humbling that in the most challenging circumstances, people came together for MWC21. Convening this year was possible because of a commitment to innovation and the direct support of the mobile ecosystem, customers, partners, and the community – and the GSMA are very grateful. Without question, this support underlines that mobile technology must continue to play a vital role in the global recovery and that the event created momentum for MWC22.
Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA said that he is proud of the team for delivering a high-quality event in an extraordinarily complex environment. The pandemic has indelibly changed how people gather. GSMA had to develop new health and safety protocols and a hybrid platform. He also said that it was only possible because of a community of support for which he is very grateful. He also added that he is encouraged that thousands more joined virtually. MWC21 created momentum and is helping people reimagine what events look like.
The health and safety plan, Committed Community, was critical in bringing people together safely and its elements were seen and felt everywhere. Approved by the Catalan Health Authorities, the plan was developed for the event and delivered in partnership with Quironprovencion. They administered thousands of tests and expertly cared for all involved. Attendees have been complimentary of the plan, and the GSMA is grateful for the cooperation of all who attended.
John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd. said that they have a new appreciation for the value of human connection and, for him, being together again at MWC21 in Barcelona has been inspiring. Last February, the world faced a fast-moving coronavirus and GSMA was the first organisation to cancel a large international event over health and safety concerns. Last week they reignited business by bringing together the mobile and adjacent vertical ecosystems at MWC21 in a safe and healthy environment. The dynamism of global circumstances meant that they had to evaluate and re-invent operational processes in partnership with their teams to make MWC a reality. He further added that he is proud of the team and profoundly grateful for everyone who played a role in bringing the industry back together again.
Special event highlights
Focus on the local entrepreneurial startup community was front and centre with the 4YFN (Four Years from Now) programme in the heart of MWC21. There was a genuine buzz, and 4YFN was a must-see space at the event. Returning MWC attendees were delighted to see and experience how Barcelona nurtures and encourages the startup ecosystem.
The GSMA Ministerial Programme was the centre of policy debate. More than 650 senior policymakers, regulators, industry leaders, and government officials collaborated and exchanged views on digital inclusion, network resilience and maximising the potential of 5G. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, it has been more critical to convene the world's political, regulatory and telecom leaders to discuss how digital connectivity is acting in the service of people whilst driving a robust recovery for the digital future.
Scheduled for 28 February – 3 March 2022, GSMA will now begin planning for MWC22. The dates for 2022 are a return to the traditional place on the calendar and will be in Barcelona.