GSMA, CTIA Bringing Mobile World Congress Vibe to U.S.

In a partnership that could create a major new event for the American technology sector, CTIA: The Wireless Association and the GSM Association announced plans to bring a version of Mobile World Congress, the popular European event, to San Francisco next year. The expo will replace CTIA's existing event in Las Vegas.

The mobile world is frequently full of big announcements. Today’s comes from the two associations that represent the industry around the world.

On Wednesday, CTIA: The Wireless Association and the GSM Association (GSMA) announced that they will bring a version of Mobile World Congress to San Francisco in September 2017.

The new event, elements of which would be put on by both groups, is expected to replace CTIA’s annual Super Mobility event in Las Vegas that generally draws crowds of 30,000 each year. About that many attendees are expected for the 2017 event, which is fairly significant—though somewhat smaller—than the roughly 100,000 attendees that attended the 2016 edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

A Collaboration Grows

Mobile World Congress Americas, designed to represent both North America and South America, is the GSMA’s first large-scale event in the United States, but it’s not the mobile group’s first collaboration with its American counterpart.

“The GSMA has worked with CTIA as the U.S. wireless trade association for several years, with many members in common, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to broaden our partnership to deliver this new event,” GSMA Director General Mats Granryd said in a news release.

GSMA, which also puts on smaller events in the U.S. as well as another version of Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, will focus on the event’s management and organization, while CTIA focuses on building an education program that puts advocacy out front.

The associations anticipate C-Level keynoters at the 2017 event.

Apple-Friendly Logistics

The San Francisco location of the event is somewhat notable because it’s in the heart of Silicon Valley, where many mobile stakeholders reside—specifically Google and Apple.

One potential benefit of the event’s relocation? It could put attendees within shouting distance of whatever the famously reclusive Apple is about to do. Apple traditionally holds media events in early September to release the latest version of the iPhone, either in San Francisco or its nearby home base of Cupertino.

CTIA’s Super Mobility event has sometimes overlapped with that announcement, leading to at least one instance where the association simply screened the Apple keynote for Super Mobility attendees.

“When you think about it, the 40,000 people in the industry who will be affected most by this announcement will not be in Silicon Valley, they’re going to be in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo,” Rob Mesirow, CTIA’s vice president at the time, said ahead of the 2014 release of the iPhone 6.

Perhaps the change of venue could make the news out of Mobile World Congress Americas the big talker in 2017.

(Pierre Metivier/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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