Press Releases



Getting back to business and back together to discuss Connected Impact at the historic hybrid event

5 July 2021, Barcelona: The GSMA is celebrating the safe and successful return of MWC Barcelona, the world's largest mobile ecosystem event. It is humbling that in the most challenging circumstances, people came together for MWC21. Convening this year was possible because of a commitment to innovation and the direct support of the mobile ecosystem, customers, partners, and the community – and the GSMA are very grateful. Without question, this support underlines that mobile technology must continue to play a vital role in the global recovery and that the event created momentum for MWC22.

MWC21 was 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 four days.

"I am proud of the team for delivering a high-quality event in an extraordinarily complex environment. The pandemic has indelibly changed how we gather. 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. MWC21 created momentum and is helping us reimagine what events look like. Bring on MWC22."

The health and safety plan, Committed Community, was critical in bringing people together safely and, its elements were seen and felt everywhere. Approved by the Catalan Health Authorities, the plan was developed for the event and delivered in partnership with Quironprovencion. They administered thousands of tests and expertly cared for all involved. Attendees have been complimentary of the plan, and the GSMA is grateful for the cooperation of all who attended. We all played a role in creating a safe environment allowing us to be together for the first time in 15 months.

Our thanks

Planning this year was beyond complicated; MWC21 became a reality because of the strength and commitment of our staff and partners. A special thanks to the GSMA team, Barcelona City Council, Generalitat de Catalunya, the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transformation, Fira de Barcelona, Tourism de Barcelona (the Host City Parties), the L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, and people of Catalonia and Spain. Your support this year meant that we delivered MWC21 with excellence, a testament to the trust and collaboration this community has developed over years of working together.

"We have a new appreciation for the value of human connection and, for me, being together again at MWC21 in Barcelona has been inspiring," said John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd. "Last February, we were faced with a fast-moving coronavirus and were the first organisation to cancel a large international event over health and safety concerns. Last week we reignited business by bringing together the mobile and adjacent vertical ecosystems at MWC21 in a safe and healthy environment. The dynamism of global circumstances meant that we had to evaluate and re-invent operational processes in partnership with our teams to make MWC a reality. I'm proud of the team and profoundly grateful for everyone who played a role in bringing the industry back together again."

A special thanks to our MWC21 partners and sponsors. Your support helped make this possible.

  • ACI
  • Applus+ Certification
  • C114
  • Citi
  • CNBC
  • Damm
  • Euronews
  • Facebook Connectivity
  • Financial Times
  • Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Mobile World Capital
  • Mobile World Live
  • Moelis and Company
  • Nvidia
  • Sabadell BStartup
  • SEAT
  • STC
  • Time
  • The Wall Street Journal

The numbers

  • Over 20,000 people attended in-person
  • Around 100,000 unique virtual and daily viewers on MWC21 and partner platforms
  • Representation from around 165 countries and territories, 117 of those in-person
  • Over 1000 exhibitors, sponsors and partners
  • Millions could tune into MWC21 content through global syndication via 1000+ national and international broadcasters
  • Over 50% of attendees were Directors
  • 1,500 CEOs and C-Suite executives among attendees, confirming once again that MWC brings together decision-makers

Special event highlights

Focus on the local entrepreneurial startup community was front and centre with the 4YFN (Four Years from Now) programme in the heart of MWC21. There was a genuine buzz, and 4YFN was a must-see space at the event. Returning MWC attendees were delighted to see and experience how Barcelona nurtures and encourages the startup 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, the organisation will now begin planning for MWC22. The dates for 2022 are a return to the traditional place on the calendar and will be in Barcelona.

Key partners have already shown their support for MWC22 by confirming their plans to attend and exhibit including;

  • Dell Technologies
  • Deutsche Telekom
  • Ericsson
  • Intel Corporation
  • Lenovo Technology
  • LG Uplus
  • NEC Corporation
  • Netcracker Technology
  • Nokia Solutions and Networks
  • Ooredoo
  • Orange
  • Qualcomm Technologies
  • Samsung Electronics
  • SAP
  • Saudi Telecom Company
  • SK Telecom
  • TCT Mobile
  • Telefonica
  • Verizon
  • VMWare
  • Xiaomi
  • ZTE Corporation

Find out more about MWC Barcelona:

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About GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 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 the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Africa, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the M360 Series of regional conferences. For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.