World's largest mobile tech fair, Mobile World Congress 2024, gets underway in Barcelona

Visitors from over 200 countries arrive to discuss and present latest advances in AI, robotics, and 5G

Visitors entering the Mobile World Congress 2024
Visitors entering the Mobile World Congress 2024 / Aina Martí
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

February 26, 2024 09:45 AM

February 26, 2024 09:13 PM

The world’s largest mobile technology congress, the Mobile World Congress (MWC), opened its doors on Monday for another edition at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona.

This year, new emerging technologies have superseded the mobile phone as the core element of the trade show, as companies around the world look to harness the power of artificial intelligence applications, 5G, and robotics. 

Until Thursday, the Catalan capital will be the epicenter of business and debates on digital transformation, with a special focus on the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence.

"If you don’t come to these conferences and don’t attend, you’re going to be irrelevant," says Ali Gangani, a visitor from Canada. "So you have to make sure you’re ahead of the game. This is now table stakes for you to be here," he adds.


Under the slogan of 'Future First', the fair encompasses all sectors that depend on mobile technology and focuses on 5G deployment, the digitization of the economy, open networks, artificial intelligence, and sustainable mobility.

This year, massive international brands such as Huawei, the biggest exhibitor of this year's fair, are coming back strongly. The Chinese firm occupies practically all of Hall 1 with 10,000 square meters.


In total, there are more than 2,400 exhibitors with global giants such as Samsung, Amazon, Google, Xiaomi, Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone, and Ericsson taking part.

Laura de Benito of Xiaomi told the Catalan News Agency that her company are focussing on electric vehicles as they believe that technology and mobility solution has a bright future. 


The Mobile World Congress welcomes businesspeople, managers, and politicians from around 200 countries this year, as around 95,000 total visitors are expected, around half of whom will hold executive positions within their companies. This figure would be another step taken towards a full recovery after the pandemic hampered the event for years, but it is not expected to surpass the record 110,000 visitors seen in 2019. 

The MWC has maintained the ban on Russian companies taking part over the war with Ukraine, but no such sanction has been imposed on Israel for the war in Gaza despite the calls for a boycott that have come from some voices such as the former mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.

The economic projection is expected to reach similar levels to 2019, with the expectation of exceeding the €461 million that the territory benefitted from in the previous edition. Apart from the 9,100 direct jobs created by the event, the congress also provides benefits for the hospitality industry with 20,000 room reservations booked through the official agency of the event.

The arrival of 95,000 visitors to MWC comes at a time of severe drought in Barcelona. To raise awareness among visitors, the organization has sent out messages informing them of the situation and urging them not to waste too much water. The Hotel Association has also distributed information leaflets to rooms. Meanwhile, the fountains surrounding the Fira site will be empty and the use of running water inside will be limited.