Business & Economy

MWC 2021 defies Covid-19 for telecom gathering comeback

Barcelona, Jun 28 (EFE).- The Mobile World Congress reopened its doors Monday for its first edition since the Covid-19 pandemic began, hoping to spearhead the revival of industry gatherings.

Roughly 30,000 attendees registered for the MWC this year, falling far short of its 100,000 guests in 2019, and all visitors will have to undergo a Covid-19 test and wear an FFP2 face mask.

“We haven’t conquered Covid yet, but it hasn’t conquered us either,” said John Hoffman, CEO and director of the GSM Association, organizers of the MWC.

“A real theme for MWC ‘21 is: back to business, back to Barcelona, back together,” he said as he welcomed attendees during the inauguration event on Sunday.

As soon as 8am, testing facilities were smoothly going through queues of attendees, although larger crowds clogged progress at times as midday approached.

Inside, once the rapid test results have come through, attendees found a reduced version of the congress, with fewer companies in attendance than previous years and others choosing to only show up in a virtual manner.

Front and centre is 5G technology, once again the focus of most telecom giants like it was already in 2019, as companies display the capabilities of the fifth generation mobile network.

Hologram technologies also compete for attention, with a human-sized 4K resolution cabin that allows interaction with holograms and will be available for testing.

The MWC is celebrated in Barcelona, neutral territory between technological powerhouses China and the United States, according to Hoffman.

Spanish industry leader Telefonica, however, opened the first session advocating for a new regulatory framework to build a “strong digital Europe,” and not linger further behind in the international race for digital leadership.

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