Foreign correspondents choose Barcelona as the Mobile World Congress’ permanent host city

International media focus on the world’s leading congress on mobile phone technology.

CNA / J. Pueyo / JR Torné / L. Pous / A. Matamoros

February 15, 2011 10:48 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The foreign correspondents covering the Mobile World Congress would prefer the congress to stay in Barcelona. The Mobile World Congress will finish its current contract with Barcelona’s Trade Fair (Fira de Barcelona) in 2012 and the decision on where to celebrate the congress in 2013 and onwards is to be taken in the next few weeks. Barcelona is one of the three strongest candidates, together with Milan and Munich. In the Mobile World Congress there are more than 2,400 registered journalists and it has global news coverage, corresponding to the importance of the world’s leading congress on cell phone technology.

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC), professionals come from 192 countries across the globe. The press conference is a mosaic of nationalities, where English is clearly the dominant language. Among the journalists, there is a unanimous consensus of the congress’ importance at an international level. The question about Barcelona continuity does not surprise anyone.

The editor of RCRWireless News Tracy Ford thinks that Barcelona is a good place to celebrate the MWC, although she states that would also like Paris as she has never been there before. Ford told CNA that all the professionals covering issues on wireless communications in the United States have come to the congress. In fact, in the case of the media she works for, which has its headquarters in Austin (Texas), up to 6 people travelled to Barcelona to cover the event. She added that there is no professional who is a specialist in this field that would miss the congress’ “5 days of madness”, where “many things happen, it is useful to meet people and many press releases are issued”.

Tatsuya Kurosaka, who attended the congress representing CNET Japan (one of the sector’s leading media), said that the congress’ impact on the Asian country is “very important”. It is particularly important at a moment when Japanese companies are trying to build “their own economy” regarding the intelligent mobile phone devices or ‘smart phones’. When asked about the future host city of the MWC, Kurosaka said that travelling to Barcelona or another European city would be the same for him in terms of travel distance. “There is a very big distance with Japan, but I love that the congess is organised in Barcelona”, he stated. Kurosaka appreciated that in the congress he can find “information not only from the Western world, but also from South-American, Asian, and new world countries”.

The European competition

Massimiliano Spiccia, from the Italian blog specialised in mobile phone technology Batista70Phone, affirmed that he “likes Barcelona a lot” as the MWC organising city, for its proximity to Italy and its “beauty”. However, he said that as an Italian citizen he would like to see the congress being organised in Milan. He “would be one hour by car away, it would be more comfortable”, he said. Spiccia told CNA that the Mobile World Congress’ impact on his country’s specialised press is very important. In fact, he emphasised that there is a lot of specialised Italian press, “especially a young audience that works on cell phone technology development”.

Ger de Gram works for the Dutch media Beste Product. He told CNA that in The Netherlands the market of technology journalism is “quite big”. He knows there is about 50 Dutch journalists registered at the MWC. “We are not a very big country, you can thus figure out” the congress’ importance, he said. “With a colleague we joke about coming on bike with the camera on our backs if the congress had to be celebrated in Amsterdam”, he said when asked about this possibility. However, he concluded that “maybe the congress belongs to Barcelona” as it has been organising it for many years now.

A greater variety than in the “tapas bars” writes a UK newspaper

Barcelona’s technology revolution also hits the UK press. The vast majority of prestigious UK media have special correspondents in the Catalan capital covering the event. Others, such as ‘The Guardian’, have a special blog on their website, which has a live coverage on the latest news of the MWC. The BBC dedicated several videos to Barcelona’s world event. On its website, an article states that the city offers “as much variety” of mobile phones as “tapas bars”. The British television recalls how 50,000 come to the city because of the event, in an “eclectic mix” of industry “veterans” and “high executives” from companies such as Twitter and Nokia.

Most of the British written press stressed the presentation in Barcelona of the first mobile phone with PlayStation, from Sony Ericsson, as one of the main attractions of the congress’ first day. ‘The Times’ special correspondent, Nic Fildes, wrote with quite some irony that Barcelona looked more like “a child toys’ convention” than “a serious meeting of the telecommunications industry”. The conferences and comments from the high executives present at the fair, such as Twitter’s CEO Nick Costolo, are behind some headlines on the UK media. ‘The Guardian’ dedicates an entire article to Costolo’s words, when he denied negotiations with Google for a 10 billion dollars sale. ‘The Daily Telegraph’ wrote on Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop’s keynote address. Besides, ‘The Financial Times’ analyses the large technological corporations’ alliances from an economic point of view.

The New York Times’, ‘The Washington Post’ and CNN

‘The International Herald Tribune’, the European edition of the ‘The New York Times’, dedicates a small news on the front-page related to the Mobile World Congress. It focuses on the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes’s statement denouncing the “fraud” European consumers suffers with Internet connections via roaming.

On the digital edition of ‘The Washington Post’ three articles about the MWC could be read, all from Associated Press. One is about Microsoft’s intentions to make its Windows Mobile compatible with the Xbox, as well as to plan improvements in its web search engine and the speed while changing from one application to another. ‘The Washington Post’ also talks about the first mobile phone with a 3-D camera, from LG Electronics. Jim Boulden, from the CNN, made a news video piece on the MWC’s news, such as the PlayStation smartphone from Sony Ericsson.