GSMA has officially announced that Barcelona will continue to be the world’s mobile capital and the site of the GSMA Mobile World Congress until 2023. GSMA praised the extension proposal presented by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, and assessed very positively the work carried out in the city since 2012, when Barcelona was named the first “Mobile World Capital.”

Barcelona’s designation as Mobile Word Capital spawned a series of changes that represent an opportunity not only for its economy and the specialised technological community, but also for the city and its people. Since its creation MWCB has backed different programmes that apply mobile technologies and their transformative potential to strategic areas key for society: entrepreneurship and innovation, education, health and connectivity. For three years the Foundation has continuously striven to nurture the development of innovative projects aimed at both citizens and industry. Thanks to the renewal agreement with the city, thousands of people will be able to continue to benefit from programmes in the fields of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, mSchools, mHealth, and Smart Living.

4 Years From Now, which in just two editions has established itself as the premier international event for mobile startups, saw its attendance figures triple in 2015: from 2,300 in its first year, up to more than 8,000. 4YFN is also growing and expanding its activity as a business platform, in addition to the week-long congress, through participation in leading international events in the area of innovation, including unBound Digital (United Kingdom), the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival (Israel), and industry forums like the Smart City Expo World Congress, focusing on smart cities and held in Barcelona.

In the educational sphere the renewal of the agreement between GSMA and the city of Barcelona means that young Catalonians will be able to continue to enjoy initiatives like the app development elective App Education which after just two years has been taken by over 17,000 students, of which 32% have redirected their educations towards studies in the technological domain. Other initiatives of the mSchools programme, backed by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, include Mobile History Map, Mobile Learning Awards, App Awards and an app archive for teachers, students and parents: mSchools Toolbox.

With regards to the health sector, following the Regional Government of Catalonia’s approval of the mHealth Cat Plan in February of 2015, the MWCB mHealth team has been cooperating with the Fundació TicSalut on the implementation and development of mobile health solutions in the region. Plans call for the programme to also publish a white paper indicating the results of the Personal Health File pilot programme. In addition, the Mobile Health Global web portal works so that the mHealth community of professionals, institutions, industry and citizens can discover, share and create innovative solutions for the future of mobile health and social assistance. The page also includes a listing of more than 250 applications for health management, while showcasing an ample variety of mHealth solutions and projects at the international level.

Finally, Smart Living, the programme addressing citizens’ interaction with the city, will concentrate its activity on four main areas: commerce and tourism, digital identity, Big Data and transport. After the positive response to the two editions of Mobile Ready, the initiative designed to offer Barcelona citizens and visitors smart experiences, and the success of the first Mobile Thinking Days, a forum examining the impact of mobile technologies on tourism, the programme will continue working to encourage the adoption of mobile solutions by institutions, bodies and citizens.

After 10 years of activity in Barcelona, the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the world’s premier mobile telephone technology congress, has had an economic impact on the city assessed at 3,000 million euros, and created more than 75,000 temporary jobs. GSMA’s confirmation that it will be extending the congress will serve to improve all citizens’ quality of life.