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Mobile World Congress: no Russia pavilion at the fair

Organizer GSMA condemns invasion of Ukraine three days before tech trade show is due to begin


25 February 2022 10:12 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The Mobile World Congress has confirmed that the Russia pavilion expected to be at the fair, which is due to begin on Monday, will no longer be part of the event. 

GSMA, the organizer of the world's biggest mobile industry event, which takes place every year in Barcelona, has condemned the invasion of Ukraine.

 In a statement released on Friday morning, the company led by John Hoffman said that "GSMA complies with all sanctions and governmental policies" stemming from Russia's attack on Ukraine.

"The security of the event is reviewed and constantly adjusted as information is being received." 

"GSMA strongly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine," also reads the statement, which says that the event now seems "irrelevant" given "the tragic loss of lives" in the Eastern European conflict. 



  • "GSMA strongly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine"

    GSMA · Organizer of the Mobile World Congress

"MWC is a unifying event seeking to come together with the mobile industry in order to progress in the ways and channels in which connectivity makes sure that people, industry, and society thrive." 

Hoffman urges Russian companies not to attend

GSMA CEO John Hoffman has been quite vocal about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Friday morning, he recognized being "sadden" for the situation and assured MWC will "follow international guidelines and sanctions regarding companies that may have planned to participate," he said.

There are 20 Russian companies listed by the United States that face international sanctions, and "those will not be allowed to participate" but Hoffman wants to "encourage" the other ones to "do the right thing, and for many of them, that might be remaining at home."

Airport back on business

Barcelona airport is getting ready for the Mobile World Congress with 78% of 2019’s flights confirmed. The Catalan infrastructure will record 6,415 commercial flights and 147 private flights.

In 2019, according to public airport administration AENA, there were 8,226 flights. Airlines have offered 1,140,966 seats, representing 74.4% compared to 2019’s 1,532,522.

Airport authorities expect Friday 4, Saturday 5, and Sunday 6 of March to be the busiest ones on private flights.

Up to 60,000 people at the MWC

The Mobile World Congress will take place between February 28 and March 3 and expects to gather up to 60,000 attendees after the 2020 edition was canceled and the 2021 one was much smaller than usual. In 2019, 109,000 people participated in the trade show. 

Around 1,000 speakers will take part in one of the round tables or workshops organized during the MWC. Out of these, 95% of participants will be in Barcelona during the congress.

The 2022 MWC edition will focus on three main topics. As in recent years, visitors will learn more about the latest news on 5G technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

However, organizers are preparing sites of the fair to focus on fintech -finance technology- and other online storing data options, such as the cloud. 


  • Pavilion at Gran Via Fira where Mobile World Congress (MWC) is held in Barcelona on February 10, 2022 (by Aina Martí)

  • Pavilion at Gran Via Fira where Mobile World Congress (MWC) is held in Barcelona on February 10, 2022 (by Aina Martí)