MWC rumours rife after GSMA CEO goes

June 10, 2011

Rating: Is Barcelona clinging on as MWC’s venue?

What’s going on? The GSMA seems to be going through a rough patch. Only days ago, GSMA chairman, Franco Bernabè, announced that Rob Conway (CEO) who has been with the GSMA for 12 years is to stand down this September [2011]. The news comes at exactly the same juncture when the GSMA was expected to announce where the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will be held in 2013. There’s speculation that Barcelona has held onto it but only just. Plus it follows news that a challenger to the MWC – MxO – isn’t going ahead.The completely unconfirmed rumour which has reached Countdown2MWC is that Barcelona will host MWC in 2013 but the exhibition will move away from its current venue – the Fira.

That’s particularly strange given that the Fira as a site was one of the chief reasons why Barcelona stole the exhibition from the clutches of France’s Cannes in the first place.

Interestingly, will the fact that Franco Bernabè is executive chairman of Telecom Italia influence the choice of venue for MWC? Especially since – besides Barcelona, Paris, and Munich – Milan is in the running to host the show.

Talking of Germany, having promoted MxO as a viable alternative to the GSMA’s MWC event, the sad news broke today that the event has just been cancelled. The official Press release blamed a lack of bookings for the cancellation.

Somewhat ironically, MxO (see here) which was operated by one German Messe (Hamburg) has disappeared just as we had covered the news that another German Messe (Frankfurt) was launching a separate attack on MWC.

In Frankfurt’s case the event is known as M-Days [see here]. And as a sign of the organiser’s bravery, this event will take place around two weeks before MWC 2012. Hamburg based MxO was due to have taken place in early October [2011].

Countdown2MWC would humbly suggest that there’s not enough focus in these alternative events. It’s very difficult to get your message across at such a generalist event as MWC.

In fact, holding back a product launch until the MWC opens is the mark of a very brave producer. Whatever the amount of (Press) coverage the new product receives at its MWC launch will almost certainly decide whether a particular mobile product sinks or swims.

What the mobile sector needs is far more focussed events. That’s why our sister publication – Cool Tones Blog – is advocating an event on just one niche – Ring Back Tones (RBTs).



  1. […] to keep the exhibition in Barcelona despite some fierce criticism. There has been speculation here that the GSMA’s  long standing CEO, Rob Conway, left because of the decision. He’s […]

    • Actually, John Hoffman hasn’t replaced Rob Conway because he hasn’t left yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: