Despite the sinking global economy, attendance at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona remains strong. In an interview with FierceWireless today GSMC CEO John Hoffman, who oversees the Mobile World Congress conference and exhibition, said that as of yesterday there were 49,000 registered attendees. Hoffman added that the number of exhibitors also increased over last year's conference.
Hoffman says he expects attendance to top 50,000, which he believes is remarkable considering the current economic crisis. In 2007 and 2008, Mobile World Congress attendance tapped out at around 53,000 to 55,000. He added that certain areas of the conference have expanded, such as Hall 7, which is 40 percent bigger this year to accommodate more mobile content and applications exhibitors.
Although many attendees noticed significantly fewer banners and signs from high-profile vendors in areas around the city, such as at the airport, near local hotels or across from the Fira, GSMA Chief Marketing Officer Michael O'Hara said that advertising at the conference has increased. The difference is that companies are concentrating their advertising dollars and spending differently than in the past.
In other GSMA news, the association announced that it would be promoting the use of mobile broadband to stimulate the world economy and help it recover from the economic crisis. Specifically, Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA, said that the mobile industry "is one of the few that are not asking for a bailout" and it will likely be instrumental in helping the world recover. "Governments are turning to telecom for high-tech stimulus," Conway said during a press conference.
- see this press release
MWC Preview: Will the economy impact MWC attendance?
GSMA: Mobile World Celebrates Four Billion Connections
GSMA-backed group initiates mobile broadband campaign