GSMA celebrates ‘vibrant’ MWC 2022 with 61K attendees

After two years of pandemic-induced anxiety about the future of the mobile industry’s biggest trade show, the GSMA last week closed Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2022 in Barcelona and deemed it a success.

The organization hosted more than 61,000 attendees from almost 200 countries, so while it was about half the size of the pre-pandemic crowd, it still drew participants from all corners of the world.

Prior to the show, GSMA said it expected something on the order of 40,000 to 60,000 attendees, so its final numbers certainly were something to celebrate. Last year, the show, traditionally held in February, was pushed back to late June, when it attracted about 20,000 in-person attendees. In 2020, when the pandemic was just emerging, the show was canceled less than two weeks before it was scheduled to go on.

Those who tweeted about their attendance this year were generally positive about their experiences, emphasizing quality of meetings in a space that was easier to move with fewer attendees.



“Nothing beats MWC in person, and it was exciting to bring our community – which is so passionate about connectivity – back together to discuss the opportunities that lie ahead,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman in a statement. “On behalf of the GSMA, I would like to thank all of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and partners who came together to make MWC22 so productive, safe, and successful.”

Not in attendance were companies expecting to exhibit in the Russian pavilion, which was axed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Hoffman told Reuters that a “handful, a few” Russian companies and their executives were banned but didn’t name them.

GSMA condemned the attack and said many of its members are responding by facilitating communication with loved ones and by addressing humanitarian needs.

Back to in-person 

The show hosted more than 1,900 exhibitors, sponsors and partners, with more than 1,000 speakers – 97% of whom were in person.

Keynote speakers included FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who announced the 2.5 GHz auction will start in July, as well as an inquiry into potential receiver rules.

RELATED: MWC in America moves to Las Vegas for 2022

The next installment in the MWC series is MWC Shanghai, which will be June 29-July 1. In the U.S., the event that previously was held in Los Angeles will now be in Las Vegas; that’s scheduled for September 28-30.