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Mobile World Congress (MWC) for beginners — Things to consider before planning your first international junket

Mobile World Congress (MWC) for beginners — Things to consider before planning your first international junket
  • Attending the MWC in Barcelona on behalf of Business Insider india exposed me to several new things
  • Here’s a first-person perspective from my experience covering a mega international event
  • Learn more about how to register, travel, and explore such events!
After my trip to the MWC 2024 in Barcelona last month, I have been asked multiple times how to go about it. And honestly, I understand. I figured everything out along the way. That’s why I am writing this first-hand account of what to keep in mind for your first MWC, or any such mega international events, something that I wish I had when I was planning my trip.

Registration and travel
Now how do you go to MWC? The process starts with registering yourself at the MWC website. Once you register yourself as a media or analyst you will receive an invite from the MWC team.

This invite also has an NOC which you have to submit for your Schengen VISA. This VISA also requires you to provide 6 months of bank statements and 3 months of salary statements. If you are a freelancer you require an NOC from the publication or agency you are working with. You are also required to share 3 years of ITR while submitting your VISA form.

There are almost no direct flights to Barcelona from India. So, you either go via Germany or Switzerland. No matter which route you choose, kindly take a layover of at least 2 hours. Not for leisure, but to make your connecting flights on time.

My layover while going to Barcelona was at Zurich airport for one hour, which was a race against time. I found myself running along with my colleagues reaching the connecting flight 10 minutes before take off. It’s very risky, and after a 9-hour flight, you do need some time to recharge yourself.

A point to note here is that our immigration happened at the Zurich airport itself, and we had to do a security check-in one more time here. Which makes the situation even more time-sensitive.

Arriving at Barcelona
This year MWC saw a footfall of over 1 lakh people, and the Barcelona administration took good care of us all. When you reach the Barcelona airport you need to have a MWC series app on your phone. This is where you can access all your MWC profile data. You will find booths here providing you with transportation passes. These passes work like any travel card, allowing you to commute throughout the city using buses or metro. Very crucial for you to collect this otherwise the taxi fare in Barcelona is very high.

Don’t worry if you miss collecting one since you can find them in the main hall again. I also recommend downloading the TMB app for navigating across the city. It provides you with the fastest routes and guidance to reach your destination.

I also recommend either buying international roaming from your service provider or getting a SIM card from the Barcelona airport. You must get a SIM card or have network connectivity before heading out of the airport. Mostly because there is a serious language barrier and you need to have device connectivity for having immediate conversations as well.

At the MWC Arena
MWC has 8 halls which are scattered across a 500,000 sq. meters exhibition floor space. So, it is important to keep a tab on all notifications on your MWC series app to get timely updates. You can also access the map of the arena in the app — handy when you are covering the event.

Generally, most action takes place in the first three halls. So, I recommend spending the first 2 days in Hall-1,2 & 3. Post that you can start exploring all the other halls.

This year, the Google Android team had a good easter hunt going on incentivising visitors to explore the entire venue. Throughout day 1 and day 2, exclusive Android pins were spread across booths in all the halls. If you collect all the pins on both days you will get a gift from Google. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any gifts, though I collected around 10 pins, since I was busy shooting, anchoring and editing videos on the go.

You should also be aware of the food situation at the MWC arena since the food is very expensive.

If you have been registered as a media & analyst at the show, there is no strict cap on what you can carry inside the venue. In terms of equipment. My gear was fairly light, and since I was covering the event alone, I needed to be as light as possible.

My gear included an iPhone 15 Pro and a Digitek microphone. The footage I shot was then edited on my MacBook Pro. After creating frames for my footage, I controlled the record settings with my Apple Watch Series 9. And yes this is where the Apple ecosystem was at its full utilization to maximise my productivity throughout the coverage.

This yet again proves my sincere belief that the iPhone and Macbook put together are a cavalry in their own right. Something I explained in my article - iPhone & Media - Why the iPhone matters for content creators.

We have put out 10 videos in 4 days at MWC, in which I would edit the morning upload before I went to bed. The evening upload was managed by the editor back home. But this planning was possible because I had the efficient gadgets on me.

I would recommend carrying multi-pins from your origin country because Barcelona is very expensive for all this.

I hope this piece has helped you, and I wish every reader the best of luck for their MWC coverage, whenever it might happen. Hopefully, I should bump into you in person.


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