The Ultimate Survival Guide: Mobile World Congress
“Creating a better future.” The vision for the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) is about more than simply convening mobile technology professionals. It challenges those who are driving mobile transformation to think, design, and create beyond what’s possible today.
With more than 108,000 expected attendees, 2,300 exhibitors, and over 320 speakers, MWC is the largest mobile technology and telecommunications industry show and one of the largest conferences in the world.
The annual convention provides leaders in mobile tech from around the globe a collaborative platform to create a better future, today.
The GSMA is hosting the 2018 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 26 to March 1. Here is everything you need to prepare for a successful experience.
All About #MWC18
Mobile World Congress offers attendees and exhibitors extensive opportunities for networking, education, and innovation.
In 2017, more than 108,000 professionals from 208 countries attended the show, including 5,500 CEOs. This year, attendance is expected to be even higher.
More than 320 scheduled speakers will deliver presentations on topics that fit into seven event themes, including:
- The Future Services Provider
- Network Technology
- Tech in Society
- Content and Media
- The Digital Consumer
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution — IoT
- Applied AI
Thirty-six executives, government, and industry thought leaders will deliver keynote presentations. Don’t miss talks from Ran Krauss, CEO and co-founder of Airobotics; Shang Bing, chairman of China Mobile; Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide; Sue Siegel, chief innovation officer of GE and CEO of GE Ventures; and Ricardo Antonio Rosselló Nevares, governor of Puerto Rico.
Check out the full agenda here.
Logistics and Mobile World Congress Tips
The Mobile World Congress is huge in terms of attendees and venue. But have no fear, we’ve compiled helpful resources to ensure you’re equipped with everything you need to navigate the halls easily and allocate your time wisely.
Pick Up Your Badge
Your badge is your key to the conference. The GSMA will send registered attendees an email a week before the event with instructions for collecting it. International guests can retrieve their badges at the Barcelona Airport.
Find other pickup locations here.
Make sure to bring:
- The QR code (included in email)
- Your passport or EU National ID card
Think ahead: The GSMA recommends attendees pick up their badges at the airport or at one of the central Barcelona collection locations, as there will be limited badge services and long lines at the venue itself.
Barcelona’s Fira Gran Via will host the conference. The building, designed by Japanese architect and Pritzker Prize winner Toyo Ito, is one of the largest and most modern venues in Europe. Some conference events will also take place at Fira Montjuïc and La Farga L’Hospitalet.
Find them on the map here.
Think ahead: With a cool 100,000+ extra people in town, traffic will be dense. Plan your transportation accordingly. By foot, the venues are a 30-40 minute trek, so wear comfortable shoes.
Over the course of the 4-day conference, more than 2,300 companies will showcase cutting edge mobile technology and products. (Say hi to us from WalkMe in Hall 2, stand 2E50!)
The exhibitors will span 100,000 square meters of space across 9 halls. Within them, zones and pavilions are organized according to industry sectors, such as IoT, Nex Gen technologies, and wearables. There are also pavilions organized by country, so you can target geographical regions that make sense for your business.
Innovation City, one of the Mobile World Congress’s most visited exhibition spaces, is located in Hall 4. The City hosts some of GSMA’s leading initiatives, such as #BetterFuture, GSMA Internet of Things, Mobile for Development: Humanitarian Innovation Showcase, and more.
There, attendees can also meet representatives from leading mobile brands, such as Cisco IoT, Huawei, KT Corporation, Sierra Wireless, and Turkcell.
Think ahead: Simply wandering through the exhibition halls is not a productive approach for navigating a conference of this size. We recommend creating a list of the companies you’d like to visit each day and mapping them out in advance.
In addition to viewing the latest mobile technology and hearing from industry-renowned thought leaders, attendees also have the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the globe.
The Mobile World Congress provides plenty of space for face-to-face meetings with potential partners and clients. It has 11 networking gardens throughout the Fira Gran Via and several networking lounges.
At the end of the day, attendees can enjoy complimentary food, drinks, and entertainment at their choice of networking events. Find the schedule here.
Think ahead: Don’t wait until you arrive to arrange meetings. People’s schedules fill up quickly, so it’s best to reach out in advance.
Note that some networking lounges require advanced booking, and some are reserved for a specific type of pass. For instance, PwC’s VIP Networking Lounge is open only to Gold and Platinum Pass holders. Before scheduling your meetings, be sure to check on room requirements.
Your Packing List
The attire for the conference is business professional. In addition to your wardrobe, don’t forget these other essentials.
- Comfortable walking shoes. Do not underestimate the power of a blister.
- Business cards. Print twice as many as you think you’ll need. Then bring some more.
- Laptop or tablet. We recommend a tablet if you have one—they’re lighter and less bulky.
- Chargers for all of your electronics. External batteries are an even better option. The competition for charging stations can be fierce.
- Notebook and pen. Old school, eh? But nothing’s better for jotting a few quick notes following presentations and meetings.
- Watch. Don’t be the person who pulls out their phone every 10 minutes to check the time.
Think ahead: During the conference, weather forecasters predict Barcelona will range from 13 degrees celsius (55 degrees fahrenheit) to 15 degrees celsius (59 degrees fahrenheit), with cooler temperatures at night. Track the weather here.
Barcelona is a beautiful and historic city, with many museums, monuments, sights, and restaurants worth visiting.
If you have time to spare on your trip to the Mobile World Congress, be sure to check out some of our favorite spots:
- The Gothic Quarter
- La Rambla
- Plaça Reial
- La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell
- Plaça Catalunya
- Museu Picasso
- Fundació Joan Miró
- Parc de la Ciutadella
- Barcelona Beach
Think ahead: When it comes to eating and drinking, your best bet is to make reservations in advance. Check out this list of the city’s best restaurants and eat well.
As much as we adore Barcelona, it’d be irresponsible to leave out this important tip: Protect yourself from theft by storing your wallet and electronics somewhere safe (i.e., not in your pants pocket or outer compartment of your bag). A little street smarts can go a long way.
Public transportation is the fastest and easiest way to move around Barcelona. Here’s a helpful guide to the Metro, FGC, and Tram from the city’s official tourism site.
Think ahead: Give yourself extra travel time, always. Lines for public transit will be long. Prefer the comfort of your own cab? Keep in mind that traveling just a couple of miles could mean an hour of traffic.
The Mobile World Congress app provides access to many useful features, such as the event schedule, list of attendees, messaging, meeting requests, exhibitor profiles, and maps of the venues. Download it now to start scheduling meetings.
LinkedIn groups can also be a huge help for networking. You can find dozens of Mobile World Congress groups, with some corresponding to specific regions.
Keep a pulse on relevant social media posts by searching for and including the official hashtag: #MWC18. You can also follow the GSMA’s official channels on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.
Still have questions? Click here for more Mobile World Congress tips and FAQs.