MWC – alive and kicking

Despite its unfortunate cancellation this year, Mobile World Congress is still very much present, discusses Jargon PR’s Managing Director, Simon Corbett.

It’s undoubtedly been a somewhat strange week for the mobile industry. Less than two weeks before the show was due to open, the GSMA was left with little alternative but to cancel the event because of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. 

It’s a great shame for all concerned, because around this time of the year, Barcelona’s Europa Gran Via convention halls feel like the very centre of the mobile world. It’s an amazing event, one that hundreds of companies treat as the cornerstone of their annual marketing plans. But we all know the GSMA really had no other choice but to cancel this year. 

What is so amazing about MWC conference, is its ability to bring so many organizations, businesses and interested parties to the same table. Through one organization, and in one place, a mobile industry that is fiercely competitive, has the foresight and perspective to realise that a little co-operation also helps improve the quality of that competition. 

Deals, projects, collaboration and progress are facilitated in the mobile industry by the unity the GSMA provides and the platform the show creates. At MWC, the opportunities for networking and doing business are endless – and if you prepare correctly, you can learn and achieve so much at the event. 

Perhaps even more remarkably, in the bars, restaurants and hotel lobbies of one of Europe’s finest cities, the spirit of MWC has actually been kept alight this year, despite the cancellation of the event itself. The hustle and bustle of a convention floor filled with booths and excitement may have been sacrificed but very many people, myself included, still travelled to Barcelona. 

And amazingly, this week, the old city has remained a place to be to discover new opportunities, maintain old partnerships and get the low down on upcoming trends. I’ve been meeting with industry friends, business contacts, publishing houses and marketers who all decided to take advantage of their flight and hotel bookings and visit Barcelona anyway.  

And on top of that, the GSMA’s content team has been doing a great job adapting many of their planned conference sessions into webinars that will run this week – we’ve been happy to play a small role helping out with some of speakers scheduled to appear at the show. 

What’s more, the cancellation of the event doesn’t diminish the everyday work of the GSMA, bringing the industry together at a host of smaller events that foster the spirit of co-operation which drives the entire global mobile ecosystem. Dan Warren, formerly of the GSMA, explained this better than I ever could, in a LinkedIn post. His closing anecdote about the little known but vitally important Roamfest event is well worth reading. 

MWC has been the leading conference in the mobile industry for around 25 years and it will be again in 2021 and for years to come I am sure. It is more than just a conference or an exhibition, it is an event. And the meetings that happen away from the show floor often prove the most valuable for all concerned – from the industry’s biggest players to its smallest companies. 

It’s been a little different this week in Barcelona, and certainly less crowded.  But here, and online, and in “Barcelona-themed’ press events and drinks parties taking place all across the world – the spirit of the show is alive and kicking.  I reckon next year’s event is likely to be bigger and better than ever before.