Business Wire

GSMA Wraps up Hugely Successful Mobile World Congress 2018


The GSMA today reported that more than 107,000* visitors from 205 countries and territories attended the 2018 Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s premier event. Over 55 per cent of this year’s Mobile World Congress attendees held senior-level positions, including more than 7,700 CEOs, up from more than 6,100 CEOs in 2017. Approximately 24 per cent of attendees were female, an increase from 23 per cent at Mobile World Congress 2017; additionally, 28 per cent of speakers in the conference programme were female, compared with 21 per cent in 2017.

“We had another highly successful Mobile World Congress, across so many fronts,” said John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd. “We are gratified with the number of senior-level attendees, particularly the number of CEOs, as well as the continued strong attendance of government ministers and regulators. However, we are not focused on necessarily having the biggest event – we continually strive to convene the right audience and deliver a high-quality experience across all aspects of the event, the conference, the exhibition, and the many other programmes and events at Mobile World Congress.”

More than 2,400 companies showcased cutting-edge products and services across 120,000 net square metres of exhibition and hospitality space at Fira Gran Via, including the new South Village, compared with more than 2,300 in 2017. More than 3,500 international media and industry analysts attended the event to report on the many significant industry announcements made at the Congress. Preliminary independent economic analysis indicates that the 2018 Mobile World Congress will have contributed approximately €471 million and over 13,000 part-time jobs to the local economy.

MWC Conference: 5G, Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Beyond

Over four days, the Mobile World Congress conference programme delved into topics such as 5G, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), content and media, drones, blockchain, policy and regulation, and many others. The keynote sessions featured leaders from established players and industry upstarts, as well government agencies and the development community.

Keynote speakers represented organisations including Airobotics, Atrium TV, Bharti Enterprises, BT Group, China Mobile, CNN Worldwide, Ericsson, European Commission, Formula 1 Driver Fernando Alonso, GE, Go Beyond Investing, HTC, Hyperledger, McAfee, McLaren Technology Group, NTT DOCOMO, PullString, Rakuten, Red Hat, SheWorx, Government of Spain, SoftBank Vision Fund, Sprint, Synchronoss, Tata Communications, Telefónica, Telenor, Telia, Teralytics, United Nations Foundation, United States Federal Communications Commission, Vodafone, World Bank Group, World Food Programme and W20 Argentina Group.

Ministerial Programme: Platform for Critical Policy Dialogue

An integral element of Mobile World Congress, the Ministerial Programme offers a unique forum for ministers, regulators, international organisations and CEOs from around the world to discuss key developments and policy trends in the mobile sector. This year’s programme highlighted topics including the evolution to 5G and the increasing need for spectrum; privacy and cross-border data flows; sustainability and mobile for social good; and mobile in education and healthcare, among others. The 2018 Ministerial Programme hosted delegations from 181 countries and international organisations, including 71 ministers and 85 regulatory authority heads, with total attendance exceeding 2,000 delegates.

Showcasing the Future of Mobile

As always, Mobile World Congress showcased the technologies, products and services that are shaping the future of mobile. More than 2,300 companies participated at Mobile World Congress 2018, including major brands such as Accenture, Alibaba, AT&T, BMW, China Mobile, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Facebook, Formula 1, Fujitsu, Google, HTC, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, LG, Mercedes-Benz, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, PwC, Qualcomm, Samsung, SAP, SEAT, SK Telecom, Sony Mobile, Telefónica, Toyota, VMware, Vodafone, Xiaomi and ZTE, among others.

Located again in Hall 4, the GSMA Innovation City was visited by nearly one-third of Mobile World Congress attendees, who experienced how mobile-connected products and services are creating a better future for citizens and businesses around the world, in diverse areas such as home, automotive, health, agriculture, utilities, industrial and more. The City featured leading-edge demonstrations of technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, drones and the IoT, among many others, from City partners Cisco IoT, Huawei, KT Corporation, Sierra Wireless and Turkcell / Lifecell Ventures, as well as key GSMA programmes.

NEXTech in Hall 8.0 put the spotlight on disruptive technologies from virtual reality/augmented reality and robotics, to cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, graphene and more. In the NEXTech Theatres, the GSMA hosted 34 Partner Programme sessions over the four days of Mobile World Congress.

Focus on Startups at 4YFN

More than 20,000 attendees, including 600 investors, participated in 4 Years From Now (4YFN) at Fira Montjuïc. The fifth edition of 4YFN offered inspirational talks, workshops and interactive discussions, 1:1 investor meetings, pitching competitions, “pitch the press” sessions, networking activities and more. The Innovation Market showcased 600 exhibitors from more than 45 countries and 12 international delegations, while the event offered attendees 110 hours of content on topics such as AI, blockchain, IoT, technology transfer and corporate venturing, among others.

Women4Tech: Reducing the Gender Gap, Championing Diversity

Now in its second year, the Women4Tech Programme focuses on reducing the gender gap and championing diversity in the mobile industry. Over four days, Women4Tech attendees participated in speed coaching, networking events, workshops, a Mobile World Live TV panel and specialised MWC Tours, as well as several activities at 4YFN. New for 2018, Women4Tech hosted two events at Meet & Eat, in partnership with L’Hospitalet. The programme culminated at the Women4Tech Summit and a celebration of women in leadership with the Women4Tech GLOMO Awards today.

YoMo Back in Barcelona

The Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo) returned to Barcelona for a second year, furthering its goal to inspire young people to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math (STEAM). YoMo attendees had the chance to participate in an array of educational exhibits, live theatre shows, interactive workshops and hands-on activities, as well as educator-focused workshops, lectures and more. It’s expected that more than 15,000 young people and educators from across Catalonia and Spain will attend the 2018 programme, which will wrap up on Friday, 1 March at La Farga L’Hospitalet.

Testing Cutting-Edge Technology

The GSMA partnered with PwC and MEXIA One to pilot facial recognition technology to streamline attendee access to Mobile World Congress at Fira Gran Via. The facial recognition technology was used alongside existing badge technologies, including NFC and Bluetooth, providing another option for the 4,225 enrolled users to easily enter the venue.

Carbon Neutral Event

Mobile World Congress was re-certified in July 2017 as carbon neutral by BSI (British Standards Institute), verifying that the GSMA successfully completed the certification process under the PAS 2060 international standard and that Mobile World Congress had achieved carbon neutrality. For 2018, the GSMA focused on further reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the event, offsetting any outstanding emissions as necessary. The GSMA is continuing to pursue certification of its offices and events, including Mobile World Congress, for 2018.

“On behalf of the GSMA, I would like to thank all of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and partners who came together to make the 2018 edition of the Mobile World Congress one of our most successful ever,” concluded Hoffman. “I’m only sorry that we could not arrange the typical beautiful Barcelona weather for this year’s event.

“Further, we extend our gratitude to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Digital Agenda, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the city of Barcelona, the city of Hospitalet, Turisme de Barcelona, the Fira de Barcelona, the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation and all of our Barcelona partners for their ongoing support.”

Mobile World Congress 2019

Mobile World Congress 2019 will be held 25-28 February, 2019 in Barcelona.

Get Involved at Mobile World Congress 2018

More information on Mobile World Congress 2018 is available at Follow developments and updates on Mobile World Congress on Twitter @GSMA using #MWC18, on our LinkedIn Mobile World Congress page or on Facebook at

The Mobile World Congress is the cornerstone of the Mobile World Capital, which will be hosted in Barcelona through 2023. The Mobile World Capital encompasses programmes and activities that span the entire year and will benefit not only the citizens of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, but also the worldwide mobile industry. For more information on the Mobile World Capital, visit

Note to editor: *This figure represents the number individual attendees at the event, including delegates, exhibitors, contractors and media; it does not represent the total number of entries to the event.


About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Contact information

For the GSMA
Beau Bass
+44 79 7662 4962
Pau Guerrero / Gloria Almirall
+34 93 236 09 00
GSMA Press Office

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