By NBF News
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AFTER an 18-month search, the GSMA at the weekend announced that Barcelona has been selected as the Mobile World Capital from 2012 to 2018. This gives the city the opportunity to retain the mobile industry's must-attend event, the GSMA Mobile World Congress, and will also develop a range of other programmes and activities that will span the entire year.

The benefits of these activities would rub-off on not only the citizens of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, but also the worldwide mobile industry.

In searching for the first Mobile World capital, GSMA scanned through different cities which made it to the final, including Barcelona, Milan, Munich and Paris and admitted that all had excellent proposals expedited huge amount of energy and creativity but added that while all of the cities who competed for the title presented extremely innovative and compelling bids, in the end, Barcelona truly demonstrated that it deserves the title of the Mobile World Capital.

Explaining its decision to pitch its tent with Barcelona, GSMA said that with the city's combination of outstanding exhibition and conference facilities, its transportation and hospitality infrastructure, its commitment to expanding the reach of mobility throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, and the strong support of the public and private sectors, there couldn't have been a better place.

This development throws Barcelona and the mobile industry into an exciting moment. The cornerstone of the Mobile World Capital is the Mobile World Congress.

Barcelona has announced that starting from 2013, the Mobile World Congress will be held at the new, cutting-edge venue, Fira de Barcelona Gran Via. The dates for the 2013 Mobile World Congress are 25-28 February 2013.

However, the 2012 edition would still remain at Fira de Barcelona Montjuic and will be held 27 February - 1 March 2012.

Beyond the Mobile World Congress, the Mobile World Capital also features two additional elements: the Mobile World Centre and the Mobile World Festival.

The Mobile World Centre will be comprised of permanent and temporary exhibitions which will meld culture and technological innovation, facilities for the development and incubation of mobile solutions, and retail and hospitality venues.

The Mobile World Festival, which is targeted to the general public, will incorporate a range of activities including sporting events, music and art festivals, film awards, applications and technology fairs and more.

We are very excited that Barcelona will be the Mobile World Capital for the next seven years, and we look forward to seeing you in the Mobile World Capital.