Technology Congress
Business 20/07/2022

Barcelona becomes MWC permanent venue

Expansion of the Fira's Gran Vía venue and the increase in contributions from the administrations have been key to the negotiations

Pol Casaponsa
2 min
Press conference on the renewal of the Mobile World Congress contract.

BarcelonaThe agreement to extend Mobile World Congress's (MWC) stay in Barcelona until at least 2030 was signed this morning. The new contract will be extended yearly automatically from the next decade onwards, provided one of the parties does not wish to terminate the agreement. This will make the Catalan capital a permanent venue for the congress. To make the agreement possible, the administrations (City Council, Generalitat and central government) have had to update their contributions to MWCapital, which will go from €5m each to €8m. "It is impossible to understand MWC without Barcelona or Barcelona without MWC," said GSMA Director General Mats Granryd.

As well as celebrating the renewed contract, the main conditions of the agreement have been explained. The contract establishes different points that were already foreseen before (such as the security service, having hotel rooms at its disposal or that the administrations watch over MWC's interests), but new ones have been added. The updated agreement establishes as a requirement the already planned expansion of the Gran Via site of Fira de Barcelona, which should be finished by 2026 and where, therefore, work must start next year.

The executive director of telecommunications employers' association GSMA, John Hoffman, explained that during the last edition they exceeded their expectations and generated €267m and over 7,100 direct and indirect jobs. Hoffman also recalled that, since 2006 (the year it was first held in Barcelona), MWC has generated €5.4bn and a total of 140,000 jobs. "It's not just about mobiles and technology, it's also about improving the city's economy."

"For Catalonia, the Olympic Games of the 21st century are the Mobile World Congress," celebrated Catalan vice-president and minister for digital policies, Jordi Puigneró, who highlighted the "visibility" it gives Catalonia and the jobs it generates every year. Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau also said Barcelona has become "European technology capital" and said that now it is necessary to work so that "the income generated by MWC reaches all the neighbourhoods of the city". Spanish Minister of Economy Nadia Calviño said that "this agreement is the result of work and collaboration between administrations" and that the congress "not only has the support of Barcelona but of the whole of Spain".

No transfer

This puts an end to speculation about a possible move to another city. Hoffman explained that there were "many interested cities". As already advanced by ARA, Paris and Dubai were two of the clear favourites to end up snatching the event. Madrid, however, was never a possibility for GSMA, which has decided that, for the time being, MWC will stay in Barcelona.