The history of Mobile World Congress, how it started and why it’s so important

Smartphones, tablets, wearables, gadgets and the press going from one presentation to another, this way the Mobile World Congress could be defined. It is a technological event that for its greatness and importance where all major brands come together to present their best products of the year. For different reasons, this rule is not always fulfilled, but the economic impact generated by this event is still evident.

All technology lovers know that the Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, is the most important event in technology and that everyone would like to spend at least one day. But few people will have asked themselves the question, what is the history of this event? Why is it the most recognized fair in the world? Why is it celebrated in Barcelona and not anywhere else? Well today at HiTechGazette we will answer for all those curious and want to know this data.

The reality is that the history of the Mobile World Congress is not very deep, since we only have to go back until 1987 to know the first celebration of the event, under the name GSM World Congress.

Since that year has been running uninterrupted year after year, a little changed has been in the name now with respect to 1987, in 2008 was renamed 3GSM Congress to give importance to the newborn 3G network, a whole trend In at that time. Already today, its full name is GSM Mobile World Congress, given that GSM is the company in charge of organizing this technology fair.

Until 2006 it was held in the city of Cannes, passing through Nice, Berlin or Lisbon, but declared itself insufficient to be able to host the event for another year, and from there, GSM had to look for a new venue, reaching an agreement with the city of Barcelona so that it could be celebrated in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The reasons? As everything indicates that, like Cannes, the objective was to find a city attached to the coast, with good temperature and a strong tourist attraction.

In addition, the geographical location of the City of Barcelona may also have been key to this decision, since it is a very adequate and equitable meeting point for the countries of the main brands to meet to present their products, especially among Americans and Asian countries.

For precisely in Barcelona have been the best moments of the technology sector, being present in the launch of the Nokia 8800 and Motorola RAZR V3x with 3G technology in 2007, or the introduction of the first smartphone with Android system with which Google would start an arduous and long-lasting battle against Apple and its iPhones. From there to today, many already know the story, marked by Samsung with its range Galaxy S or HTC who made Android reach heights.

And what does the event provide to the Spanish city?

Leaving aside the issue of products, it is important to know what this event offers to a great incentive for that city to continue to carry out the project year after year.

An extension of 94000 square meters to accommodate 2200 exhibitors, 3800 journalists and thus creating more than 13,000 jobs. All this has led to the visit of 90000 spectators, 381 private flights and almost 29,000 reserved hotel rooms to generate an economic impact of 460 million euros.

That is why the mayor of Barcelona, after the legislatures of Xavier Trías and after Ada Colau, proposed to extend the project contract until 2023. With measures of direct metro lines to the fair grounds, greater perimeter of security, creation of a technological event for children, a welcome dinner with the presence of the King of Spain, or the annual renegotiation that will be made on taxes so that the fiscal impact was the least possible.

All these measures of complacency for the organizing company of the Mobile World Congress would be carried out as long as the benefits are reverted over the municipality and the Autonomous Community, all in order that the event of the most important industrial sector of the world stays at least eight years more in Barcelona.


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