MWC Americas attendance falls far short of expectations

The inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas took place this week at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

More than 21,000 people from 110 countries and territories attended this week’s inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas show in San Francisco, the GSMA announced.

But that’s far fewer than the group had hoped for.

The event, which effectively replaced CTIA’s annual conference as the industry’s largest annual get-together in the United States, included more than 2,400 CEOs, according a statement by the GSMA, and 20% of attendees were female. This year’s event was the first since GSMA and CTIA inked their 10-year partnership last year.

But attendance fell far short of the 30,000 people the groups had hoped for. Regardless, the trade organization painted a rosy picture of the conference.

“We are very pleased with the success of our first Mobile World Congress Americas event,” said John Hoffman, CEO of the GSMA, in an announcement. “The strong level of engagement at the show, particularly among senior-level attendees, underscores the integral role that mobile plays across the entire Americas region. I would like to thank our partner CTIA and also extend our gratitude to all attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and partners who were a part of the 2017 Mobile World Congress Americas.”

A GSMA representative followed up on that statement in an emailed response to a request for comment from FierceWireless.

“We’re extremely pleased with our first Mobile World Congress Americas,” the GSMA said. "This has been an extremely successful show for us and the indicators for the 2018 show are all extremely positive, setting the foundation for future growth.” 

Reed Peterson, the head of Mobile World Congress Americas, said earlier this month that the two associations were targeting roughly 1,000 exhibitors and 30,000 attendees and were “hitting or exceeding those targets.”

CTIA didn’t disclose figures for last year’s show. The GSMA is handling the operational aspects while CTIA is tasked with running the policy-focused elements, and the two groups work together on other components. This years’ event had a notably more global tone than previous shows, including many speakers from Europe, India and South America.