GSMA celebrates the return of Mobile World Congress

The Global System for Mobile Communication (GSMA), an industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators, is celebrating the safe and successful return of its MWC Barcelona, the world’s largest mobile ecosystem event. MWC21 took place 28 June-1 July and was very 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 the four days. Organisers said 20,000 people had attended the event in-person in Barcelona, with around 100,000 unique virtual and daily viewers on MWC21 and partner platforms. Of those attendees, 1,500 were CEOs and C-Suite executives. 

The health and safety plan, Committed Community, was critical in bringing delegates together safely. Approved by the Catalan Health Authorities, the plan was developed for the event and delivered in partnership with Quironprovencion. It involved administering thousands of Covid tests.  

“I am proud of the team for delivering a high-quality event in an extraordinarily complex environment. We had to develop new health and safety protocols and a hybrid platform but, we did it! It was only possible because of a community of support for which I am very grateful,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA. “I cannot tell you how delighted I am to be back and, I’m encouraged that thousands more joined us virtually.” 

John Hoffman, CEO of the GSMA, said: “We have a new appreciation for the value of human connection and, for me, being together again at MWC21 in Barcelona has been inspiring. Last February, we were faced with a fast-moving Covid-19 and were the first organisation to cancel a large international event over health and safety concerns. The dynamism of global circumstances meant that we had to evaluate and re-invent operational processes in partnership with our teams to make MWC21 a reality. I’m 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 start-up community was front and centre for organisers this year, with the 4YFN (Four Years from Now) programme at the heart of MWC21 and a key example of how Barcelona nurtures the start-up 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, plans are now moving ahead for MWC22. The dates for 2022 signify a return to the traditional place on the calendar and the event will stay in Barcelona. 

Key partners such as Dell Technologies, Samsung Electronics, and Verizon, have already shown their support for MWC22 by confirming their plans to attend and exhibit. 

Find out more about MWC Barcelona here .