GSMA MWC Barcelona 2024 takes off

26 February 2024

GSMA MWC Barcelona 2024 has returned to the Fira de Barcelona, marking the beginning of the world’s largest and most influential connectivity event.

Hosted by the GSMA, MWC Barcelona convenes leaders from the global mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries for four days of networking, driving new business and delving into the latest trends shaping the future of connectivity.

“It is fantastic to be here with you today at the opening of MWC in beautiful Barcelona! With over half of our attendees coming from beyond the core mobile ecosystem, MWC no longer represents just one industry,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA. “As connectivity brings us together, technology opens possibilities - with connectivity driving a fusion of technology and purpose across all sectors, enabling new possibilities. This week is all about exploring the future’s potential for businesses and society.”

MWC Barcelona welcomes some of the most respected names in connectivity as keynote speakers, representing leading figures from business, government, academia, and non-government organisations.

Among the sessions taking place at the MWC Main Stage on Day 1 is an exclusive gathering of the CEOs at Europe’s largest mobile operators – Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom; Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange; José María Álvarez-Pallete, chairman & CEO of Telefónica; and Margherita Della Valle, Group CEO of Vodafone Group – from 4:30-5:00pm CET.

The keynote will explore the state of the mobile industry in Europe, the need for policy change to support infrastructure investments, the transition to green energy, and the importance of fostering industry-wide collaborations such as the GSMA Open Gateway.

“In April this year, we celebrate 100 years that Telefónica has been bringing people closer through the power of connectivity. As Telefónica has changed with the times, so too has our industry which now benefits every business and individual on the planet. At MWC Barcelona 2024, you will see how collaboration and connected innovations are driving positive societal change that will help us realise the future’s potential over the next 100 years,” said José María Álvarez-Pallete, chairman of the GSMA Board and chairman & CEO of Telefónica.

The GSMA outlined the progress the industry and its partners are making in unlocking the full potential of 5G and commercialising network APIs through the GSMA Open Gateway initiative.

Unveiled at MWC Barcelona 2023, the Open Gateway is designed to accelerate the growth of digital services and apps by providing developers with universal access to operator networks. Over the last 12 months, 47 mobile operator groups – representing 239 mobile networks and 65% of global connections – have now signed up to the initiative.

Working with technology partners including AWS, Infobip, Microsoft, Nokia and Vonage, a total of 94 APIs are now commercially available to enterprise developers in 21 markets across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

Purposes for which APIs have recently been brought to market include fraud prevention and identity verification.

To mark the opening of MWC Barcelona, the GSMA launched its annual Mobile Economy Report. It spotlights the latest trends shaping the global mobile ecosystem and recommends areas of investment to help the industry expand mobile access and improve service quality. Key findings include:

• 5G will account for over half (51%) of total mobile connections by 2029 and reach 56% adoption by the end of the decade.
• 58% of the world’s population were using mobile internet at the end of 2023, representing 4.7 billion users and an increase of 2.1 billion since 2015.
• 3 billion people are still not using mobile internet despite living in an area covered by mobile broadband networks (the ‘Usage Gap’), underscoring the urgency of addressing barriers to adoption highlighted in the GSMA’s ‘Breaking Barriers’ campaign, such as handset affordability and literacy/digital skills.
• Mobile technologies and services generated 5.4% of global GDP in 2023, a contribution that amounted to $5.7 trillion of economic value.
• 5G is expected to benefit the global economy by more than $930 billion in 2030, of which the primary beneficiaries are expected to be manufacturing (36%), public administration (15%) and the services (10%) industries.

The GSMA Ministerial Programme is the world’s largest gathering of policymakers and industry leaders that enable the digital economy. Ministers, heads of regulatory authorities and policymakers come to MWC every year to meet with mobile industry CEOs and senior representatives of international organisations, share knowledge, and evolve priority policy and regulatory issues.

New and returning features for MWC Barcelona 2024 include the Talent Arena by Mobile World Capital Barcelona in Hall 3; the startup and innovation platform, 4YFN, which celebrates its 10th anniversary edition in Halls 8.0 and 8.1; Connected Industries and GSMA Foundry on the GSMA Pavilion in Hall 4; Journey to the Future in Hall 6.