The Mobile World Congress, MWC will kick off in two weeks in Barcelona. The premier mobile industry event, previously known as 3GSM, has gained stature among the world’s ICT fairs, expos and congresses year after year. It is seen as important and interesting and many of the global telecom leaders make sure they are seen there.
The owner of the MWC, GSM Association, is expecting 50 000 visitors to the four-day congress running from February 16 to February 19. Last year about 55 000 visitors attended the conference.
The number of visitors is seen as an important indicator of the health of the mobile industry. Those attending the event will also be keeping an eye on empty exhibition stands since most of the stands were sold to companies before the outbreak of the financial crises. The companies that have been victimized by the economic crises did not have a chance to cancel their reservations but they might not want to spend the money to man the booths.
During the first years of this century 3GSM, then in Cannes, was also followed as a bell weather of the state of the mobile industry after the burst of the internet and telecom bubble. In those years 3GSM assured that the mobile industry was still relatively strong. The show kept growing right out of Cannes.
The keynote speakers coming to Barcelona are a testimony of the strength and vitality of the show and the industry. Speakers include Nokia’s CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Microsoft’s CEI Steve Ballmer, AT&T Mobility’s CEO Ralph de la Vega, Telefonica’s CEO Cesar Alierta, NTT Docomo’s CEO Ryuji Yamada and Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao.
The most important attendees of the MWC are the rank and file members working in the mobile industry. The show would be nothing without the middle managers, project and team leaders and members sales and marketing personnel and developers, designers and researchers.
One of the key points of MWC is the rich undergrowth that has developed around this event. The key extra curricular event is the Mobile Peer Awards (http://mobilepeerawards.com/) that takes place in the Petit Palau of Palau de la Musica (http://www.palaumusica.org/ ) on February 16, 2009 from 16.00 till 20.00. The keynote will be delivered by Anssi Vanjoki, the number man two at Nokia.