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3GSM morphs into Mobile World Show

New name, same old show

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The 3GSM World Congress has renamed itself the Mobile World Show, hoping to attract a more sexy media crowd than the middle-aged telecoms executives who usually frequent the place.

3GSM World Congress Asia also gets renamed Mobile Asia Congress, to maintain the connection between the two shows.

In February 1995, 1,400 mobile telecommunications executives - most of the industry back then - headed to Madrid for a few days for the GSM World Congress (successor to the Pan European Digital Conference, originally held in London 1987). In 2001 3G services came along, so a "3" was added to modernise the event.

The congress has historically been a place for telecoms execs to meet and discuss business behind closed doors, and that's still true - as evidenced by the number of companies which last year took meeting rooms but not stands, including Google and groups such as the OMTP.

But launches of new products and services make better headlines, and the congress has become much more of an industry show in recent years, to the extent of having its own red-light district where the purveyors of adult services can show off their wares. 50,000 people made it to Barcelona in 2007, and few of them managed to see more than half the products and services on display.

If the GSMA, organiser of the congress, achieves any success in "attracting visitors from the information technology, entertainment, and financial services industries, as well as the mobile industry", then Barcelona is going to be somewhere to avoid next February. ®

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