- Sue Marek
Moving the annual Mobile World Congress trade show to late February vs. mid-February was a wise move by the GSMA. Not only was the weather in Barcelona spectacular (warm and sunny) but attendees and exhibitors seemed much more energetic and prepared for the annual confab since they had more time to get ready for it. And with more than 67,000 visitors from 205 countries at the four-day event, that extra preparation was critical.
Of course, it was particularly helpful that the worrisome transit strike among Barcelona's subway and bus drivers was avoided. With the exception of a student protest in front of the Fira during the late afternoon and early evening on Feb. 29, the event seemed to go off a glitch.
According to the GSMA, 50 percent of those attending MWC 2012 held C-level positions, including more than 3,500 CEOs. The exhibit featured 1,500 companies showing their wares across 70,500 net square meters of exhibition and meeting space.
Amazingly the show--which started Sunday evening, Feb. 25, with some press conferences and media events and stretched until late afternoon on Thursday, March 1, when the show floor closed--packed in the crowds nearly every day. The show floor always seemed busy, and even the press room had a buzz of activity long after the press conferences and keynotes were over.
For the first time the GSMA had both morning and evening keynote addresses on three days--starting with Bill Ford, Jr.'s keynote Monday evening and ending with Ericsson's Hans Vestberg keynote Wednesday evening. Each keynote was well attended and appeared to keep attendees at the Fira into the early evening.
Of course, it also helped that the GSMA hosted "Networking by Moonlight" events on Monday and Tuesday immediately after the keynotes near the fountain in the center of the Fira. These networking events proved to be a great chance for attendees to enjoy the scenery and mingle with others in the industry.
On the long trip home, the Fierce editorial team had time to contemplate some of the themes of the show and what they mean to the industry. Clearly, some companies and technologies emerged stronger than ever. Likewise, some failed to get their message across. The Fierce team compiled a scorecard of the companies and technologies that we think emerged as the winners and losers at last week's confab:
- Carrier OTT services trump pricing innovations
- Small cells eclipse interest in macrocell offerings
- Interest in native OS development replaced by HTML5
- M2M rises while tablets fall
Let us know what you think. --Sue