GSMA, It’s Time to Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Liam Galin
President & CEO
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Some Thoughts on the Present & Future of MWC  

As I have been attending MWC, one of the world’s largest trade shows, for more than a decade, I have gathered some perspective on its evolution. 

Originally, it started as a pure 3G show (called 3GSM) and over time evolved to include a broader spectrum named “Mobile World Congress.” This was a necessary and blessed evolution, but over the last few years, the GSMA has failed to adjust along with the continuous evolution of the industry. 

This year we saw two diverging worlds.  

The first – in exhibition halls 2, 3, 4 and 5 AKA “the halls of the Titans”, where industry giants often spend millions of dollars, primarily to brandish their brands to their competitors – appeared deserted compared to previous years.  

And the second – in hall 8.1 called “App Planet”– is catching on as the voice of the millennials, very much like the industry itself. Vivid, with a lively atmosphere, this hall represents the age of Mobile Internet 3.0. It has energy that should, and could, be distributed and shared across the other halls. 

Now is the time to re-think the purpose of this show. If the goal is for companies to flash their muscles while saving time and expense by having back-to-back meetings with clients across the globe – then the status quo is fine. However, if we want to cultivate innovation and effectively demonstrate the latest technology, some new thinking is necessary.   

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great show, but why not make it even greater for the benefit of us all? 

As a final thought, one would expect that the world’s most important mobile trade show would be mobile friendly. An outdated mobile app, coupled with a single overcrowded line for mobile access, is a poor testament towards that purpose.  


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