Barcelona is many things. It is a provincial capital, an economic lynchpin, a historical and cultural centre, a city synonymous with footballing excellence, a centre for innovation, the third most visited city in Europe as well as one of the most liveable on the continent. But today Barcelona is known for something else, it is the GSMA’s mobile world capital.

Indeed, the title of this article is not just hyperbole, the GSMA is an association of more than 800 mobile operators worldwide and the organiser of the GSMA World Mobile Congress. This event is the largest of its kind in the world, held in Barcelona since 2006 and the most recent iteration attracted over 85,000 visitors from over 200 countries to the Fira de Barcelona.  The decision to grant Barcelona such a title was not made lightly according to an interview the CEO of GSMA Ltd gave to at the time of the appointment. In it he said: “it was a difficult decision, there’s no doubt. As I told our board — we had four locations, proposals and candidate cities all of which were qualified. There were no losers.”


So what does qualify Barcelona for the title? Aside from being the seat of the congress, Barcelona’s successful bid was due to the quality of the plan the city proposed and eventually adopted consisting of a public-private partnership model in which industry and government collaborate to foster the development of mobile technologies not just for Barcelona, but for the whole world.

Today, Barcelona boasts an impressive array of mobile software companies. Examples include socialpoint, GetApp, upptalk, robotmedia, smadex, wallapop and mobile games developer omnidrome . It seems that the location of the MWC in Barcelona has done a lot to raise the city’s stock within the mobile industry in recent years. Even a cursory google search for mobile developers in Barcelona will yield dozens of results.  With such pedigree, coupled with ease of access to early stage capital and incubator programmes, it’s easy to see the attraction Barcelona holds for software start-ups, without the obvious climate advantages compared to other European tech hubs.

Mobile technology doubtless has a bright future in Barcelona. Why not see for yourself what all the fuss is about?


Useful Links

Mobile World Capital official site:

Barcelona investment information:

Barcelona Chamber of Commerce: (Spanish/Catalan)

Wayra: (Telefónica’s startup accelerator programme)


Featured image: Entrance to Gran Via at the Fira de Barcelona By Jordiferrer (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons