MWC Barcelona 2023 Post show Report

Our opinion on MWC Barcelona 2023 – useful reading whether you attended or not!

Did you go to MWC Barcelona this year? We sent 10 team members to MWC Barcelona for the 2023 edition, which took place on 27 February – 2 March. And wow, what a difference compared to last year! We’re happy to share our key takeaways… both hard facts and our opinions in this MWC Barcelona 2023 Post show report.

Did the Telcos go?

The two main questions people were asking us before the show were:

  • “Will it be like it was pre-pandemic?” and more crucially…
  • “Will the Telcos be going this year?”

Of course, we didn’t have a crystal ball to help us in our predictions! However, the signs from the market were good, even if the registrations on the networking platform provided by the GSMA were sluggish until a couple of weeks before the show.

We reckoned that even though the attendees wouldn’t be matching pre-pandemic levels, there would be the usual 10% Telco attendance.

Discover what our clients think

We ran direct marketing campaigns for 50 clients who were exhibiting this year, and arranged 800+ meetings with Telco executives on their behalf. They reported these things:

We had very low no-show rates this year. Nearly all meetings that didn’t take place as originally arranged were easily rescheduled during the show.

The meetings were with the correct contacts within Telcos. We suspect this is because some of the Telcos’ budgets were reduced. The people that were representing had to be laser focused on who they were meeting, and have a real strong intention behind the meetings they accepted. There was definitely no vague schedule filling from middle management this year that we heard of.

The people that took the meetings were typically very senior Telco profiles. We arranged a high volume of CxO meetings this year.

This was despite the attendance being 20% less than 2019, and by consequence this means that there were 20% less Telco attendees too.

Last year we reported that the uptake of meeting rooms was very high, with many companies choosing to forgo a booth & do business from a meeting room instead. We weren’t sure if this trend would continue, or whether it was simply born through a desire to protect and isolate employees at the tail-end of the pandemic.

We saw that it did indeed continue this year, which made casual drop-by business harder to attract. Let’s see if this continues in 2024… perhaps it will become the new normal as exhibitors look to reduce costs.

Of course, if you pre-arrange your meetings like our clients had us do for them, then this doesn’t present a problem!

Inside MWC Barcelona 2023

Once again, GSMA housed the 4YFN segment within Fira over in Hall 8.

In the other halls, the show was cleverly designed & we got the impression of a bustling, thriving event. It was only when we went onto the upper walkways that we could feel the numbers were still not at full capacity.

Over 88,500 people attended the event in-person. To put that into perspective, we could nearly fill Wembley Stadium with that number! So it’s a huge number of people to be in one space. But how does that compare to previous years? Last year’s attendance was significantly lower, with only 61,000 attendees, whereas in 2019 we had the mind-blowing total of 107,000+ visitors. We think the increased attendance was still very respectable though, with 45% more attendees than last year.

According to the GSMA, a rather impressive 50% of all attendees were at director level or above. From this, 21 % of them were CxO profiles. The attendees came from 202 countries and we saw the return of delegates from APAC (they were notable by their absence last year).


The big brands were back, and the number of exhibitors were also back to a healthy number, with 2400+ exhibitors, sponsors and partners in attendance.

This year we saw new exhibitors, such as TikTok arriving to join the show.

GSMA themselves were certainly very happy and their CEO was keen to let us all know!

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