Everything You Need to Survive Mobile World Congress 2017

Team Braze By Team Braze Feb 10, 2017

It’s happening again. From February 27th to March 2nd, tens of thousands of attendees will gather in Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) event, considered the “world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry.” An event of this magnitude inevitably creates some confusion among attendees (first-timers and vets alike), but don’t worry— we won’t let that happen to you.

We’ve compiled a list of content, apps, events, and other resources to help you navigate Mobile World Congress and Barcelona. Need to book a room? We have the perfect recommendation. Looking to perfect your elevator pitch? We’ve got you covered. Want to learn how to ask for beer in Spanish and Catalan? That’s in here, too. You get the point. Let’s dive right in!

First thing’s first, where is it?

This year’s Mobile World Congress will take place at the Fira Gran Via exhibition center, just like last year (FYI: Barcelona was chosen as the “GSMA Mobile World Capital” back in 2011). The venue is located outside Barcelona’s city center and can be reached by the Metro L9 line.

You can find more transportation options at the official Mobile World Congress site.

Official #MWC17 resources

The folks at mobile trade organization GSMA (which runs Mobile World Congress) have put together a ton of resources to help you enjoy the event. First, check out their official website, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the event itself. What’s more impressive is the list of exhibitors. Hundreds of exhibitors will have a stand at the event (including us), which gives you more of a reason to carry breath mints and water everywhere you go.

You can browse and search the full list of exhibitors and sponsors here.

Secondly, GSMA has created a sleek app that will serve as a single source of truth for all things MWC. The app allows you to view sessions, speakers, and exhibitor details, create your own schedule and add upcoming events to your calendar, and a lot more. You can download the app on iOS and Android.

You can also check out the agenda for the full conference here.

More Useful Apps

Now, on to the not-so-official-but-still-useful stuff. What’s a mobile conference without great apps? Mobile apps are useful in many occasions, especially during these kinds of events. Whether you’re networking, schmoozing, or doing all the touristy things, the last thing you want to do is open a laptop. For Mobile World Congress, here are five apps that you should consider downloading before your trip:


Arguably one of the best apps for helping you find lodging, Airbnb is the go-to app for booking a reasonable accommodation that won’t put a big dent in your wallet. And if you’re traveling to Mobile World Congress on your company’s dime, Airbnb may be one of the services they recommend using to book a room. However, it’s safe to say that Airbnbs in Barcelona are filling up faster than you can say “mobile.” You may be able to book a last-minute room, but sooner is better than later.

Lonely Planet

There are tons of travel apps to help you explore destinations, but one that’s been trending lately is Guides by Lonely Planet. The app includes offline maps, phrasebooks, a currency converter, and advice from destination experts. You can officially say goodbye to those hard copy tourist guides.

Medieval BCN

If you’re curious about Barcelona’s medieval history, you have to download this app. Created by the official tourist organization of Barcelona, Medieval BCN offers audio content that helps you learn about the “medieval architecture – both Romanesque and Gothic – of Barcelona’s golden age.”


“Because business cards suck.” A recently launched app, Ping allows you to connect with others by entering your new connection’s email address and learning details about them instantly. You can also find their social media profiles and create notes about the connection.


Let’s say you’ve met a promising connection at Mobile World Congress, or you’re meeting up with a friend and want to grab a drink with them. Pathshare allows you to share your location with them as you’re en route to meet them. You don’t have to keep them waiting and worrying.


Being Human-First In A Digital World (Tuesday, February 28th, 12:00 – 18:00)

In this session, McCann Worldgroup will be speaking with top thought leaders about the impact of advanced tech (e.g. bots, AR/VR) on marketing. We’ve written extensively about advanced technology and the implications for marketing, so we’re really excited for this one.

Next-Gen Intimacy (Thursday, March 2nd, 11:30 – 12:30)

In this fireside chat (which, despite the name, has nothing to do with physical intimacy), join Appboy’s CEO Bill Magnuson to get thought leadership and next steps on how to optimize customer engagement using advanced marketing solutions (sans the creepy “Big Brother” vibe).

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Mobile Odyssey (Tuesday, February 28th, 21:00 – Wednesday, March 1st, 1:00)

We’re throwing a party with our friends at mParticle and Amplitude. It’s the after party of the future (well, that’s what we’re calling it). If you’re interested in joining, reach out to us at [email protected]. Entry isn’t guaranteed.

Women in Mobile (Tuesday, February 28th, 18:45)

Women in Mobile will be holding an event looking at how user experience can be the secret weapon for a successful app. This event is the perfect opportunity to learn from some brilliant women and listen to their mobile success stories. You can register here.

The MMIX Party (Tuesday, February 28th)

This official MWC party will feature a headline performance from one of the UK’s hottest young alternative bands – Glass Animals. Tickets are free, but limited. Go apply now.

Thought-starters for conversation

Elevator pitch

“We’re an app that’s revolutionizing XYZ.” Say that to someone you meet, and you might get this face. If you have an app that you’re trying to show to everyone you meet (and it doesn’t have a popular brand name), you have to perfect your app’s elevator pitch. Here’s a great post written a while back by 500 Startups that will help you get there: The Elevator Pitch

Mobile engagement case studies

“Who’s doing mobile well?” You’re bound to get that question while you’re networking. It may be tempting to tout your own mobile marketing success, but you don’t have to. Here are some great brands executing effective mobile marketing strategies.

Mobile benchmarks

If someone asks you how your mobile marketing is performing, will you be ready to give them an answer? How will you know if you’re performing better or worse than they are? You can use our Digits tool to see where you stand when it comes to retention rates, push open and opt-in rates, and monthly sessions.

Other Essentials

We won’t pretend to be a travel planning company, but we do have some recommendations to make your trip to Barcelona a more comfortable one.

Bring a portable charger

It doesn’t even have to be portable, just bring one with you to the event. We guarantee you’ll be thirsty for some phone juice as Mobile World Congress progresses (sadly, smartphone batteries still aren’t hitting expectations). Check out best sellers on Amazon.

Buy a fanny pack

#hottake? No, seriously, they help. Especially if large backpacks aren’t your thing and you like to stay away from those giveaway tote bags. You may get hangry and start craving snacks or want a place to store all your brochures and breath mints. Either way, you need something that’s not bulky to store your stuff and free up some physical mobility. Buy a fanny pack. Amazon has them on sale.

Learn (some) Spanish

Most people you will meet at Mobile World Congress will speak English. But when you’re not at the event and you want to go to a local bar or restaurant, you can’t (and shouldn’t) rely on people to speak English. No one expects you to be the next Enrique Iglesias (unless you actually speak Spanish—and sing!), but it’s a best practice as a traveler to pick up some popular words and phrases of the country you’re visiting. We’ve listed 15 words/phrases that should help you get around (and buy beer) in Barcelona. Click on the links in the “English” column to hear the translations in Google Translate.

English Spanish Catalan
Hello/Hi Hola Hola
Good morning Buenos días Bon dia
Good afternoon Buenas tardes Bona tarda
Good night Buenas noches Bona nit
Good bye Adiós Adéu
Thank you Gracias Gràcies/Merci
Please Por favor Si us plau
Excuse me Disculpe Disculpi
What time is it? ¿Qué hora es? Quina hora és?
I’m sorry Lo siento Ho sento
Do you speak English? ¿Hablas inglés? Parles anglès?
Help Ayuda Ajuda
Bathroom Baño Bany
How much does it cost? ¿Cuánto cuesta? ¿Quant val?
I would like a beer, please. Quiero una cerveza, por favor Vull una cervesa, si us plau.

The next element

GSMA has given this year’s Mobile World Congress the tagline “The Next Element.” In other words, mobile is foundational for our modern technology and innovations. It’s also the driving force of today’s connections between brands and consumers. We’re humbled to be a part of this revolution, and we’re excited to see what’s ahead in Barcelona come February 27th.

Want to meet us at Mobile World Congress? Contact us and let us know!

Team Braze

Team Braze

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