Getting on stage(s) at MWC17

Mobile World Congress can be confusing, at best. There are many speaking opportunities, not all of which are organised by the GSMA. In this blog post we set out to help you navigate not only the main conference but also understand what other stages are in play across the venue(s), what they are for, how these relate to each other and how to get involved (Image courtesy of Fira Barcelona).

  • The ‘MWC Conference’ that Congress is known for. You’ll find this in Hall 4, and it’s what the team here at Conference Confidential work on. The conference runs through all four days of Congress and features the big keynotes, as well as thought leading conference sessions that bring together a wide variety of executives to discuss topics essential for the mobile/digital ecosystem (You can find the themes we’re working to here). Our remit is to be a neutral platform for top-level discussions; as such, our choice of speakers is not dictated by sponsorship, by GSMA membership or even by the GSMA’s industry programmes and policy advocacy. It’s a premium event and our audience is overwhelmingly senior. Our (CEO-only) keynotes are streamed live while other conference sessions will be recorded. The other blog posts on this site, especially under ‘Event Essentials’, should be useful tools to help you work with us; if you have any questions feel free to email the team at


  • GSMA Programme activities, workshops and seminars. Beyond the GSMA’s role hosting MWC and other events, the organisation runs programmes and initiatives to support the mobile industry globally, such as Network 2020 or Connected Living. They use Congress to showcase what they are doing and/or seek to move forward those activities with some fresh discussions. Typically any given programme team will run activities for a half day or day, and you’ll usually find these in the region of the South Entrance or Hall 3. The different programme teams arrange these activities independently. If it’s central to what you do, the chances are you’ll know about some of the programmes already, but you can find out more, and get in touch, on the GSMA site here.


  • Partner Programmes take place in Hall 8.0, designated the NEXTech zone. Companies hire theatres in this area to conduct their own ‘conference at Congress’, taking advantage of the confluence of movers and shakers from different industries and parts of the world. The theatre packages offer a platform for companies to deliver custom-crafted programmes – industry insights, announcements, product and service demonstrations, case studies or workshops – to their invited audiences. You can see what our partners had to say in 2016 here. New for 2017 NEXTech, Hall 8.0 will also feature the NEXTech Lab – an open presentation platform on the show floor, offering a new way for people to showcase their activities in the heart of the exhibition.  For more information about partner programmes, the GSMA’s sales team will be the best point of contact:


  • 4YFN (4 Years From Now) is a collaboration between the City of Barcelona and the GSMA. They run a programme at the Fira Montjuic (our sister venue) that focusses on bringing together digital start-ups and investors over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They have their Call for Papers running at the moment – you can apply through this link. You can find some more information on their blog – they shared the following link: If you have any questions then should be able to help.











As you can see, it’s a busy time at Congress with a variety of stakeholders pursuing their own activities. Often these will complement each other; there is certainly plenty for people to see and do beyond the exhibition… and for companies looking to get their messages out to a wider audience, it’s worth looking at whether, and how, the different opportunities for engagement can complement each other. Played cannily, and with a compelling enough message, you can be like this guy.