Barcelona given extension to hold Mobile World Congress until 2024

Gesture of goodwill follows this year's cancellation over coronavirus fears

The GSM Association has announced that the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will be held in Barcelona until 2024, extending its current contract by one year.

The tech event, which convenes over 110,000 participants from more than 200 countries, was scheduled to take place on 24-27 February, but was called off in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. In its 14-year history, the event had always taken place annually.

The unprecedented decision to cancel MWC 2020 resulted in huge costs for smaller tech companies and local Barcelona businesses alike. However, in a move that is likely to be seen as a gesture of support, the GSMA has now agreed to extend Barcelona’s residency so that businesses will still be given the opportunity to benefit from the event.

GSMA CEO John Hoffman said that next year’s MWC is set to be a “part of the economic recovery process”.

“By extending through 2024, we are demonstrating our commitment to our ecosystem as well as the Host City Parties and our strong and mutually beneficial working relationship. We are pleased to report that we have had tremendous support and early commitment with many exhibitors for future editions,” he said.

Hoffman also added that “the City of Barcelona, the region of Catalunya and the country of Spain are essential hubs for innovation, startups and investment”.

“In these trying times, it is ever essential to look forward to the future,” he said. “The GSMA, the Host City Parties, and the MWC Barcelona ecosystem look forward to upcoming editions of MWC.”

It's not yet known how or when other cities will be able to bid to host MWC in the years after 2024 – GSMA spokeswoman Claire Cranton told IT Pro that the application process is “yet to be determined”.

MWC 2021 Barcelona is scheduled to take place on 1-4 March 2021.

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