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What the media wants at MWC

Posted by Darren Willsher on 28th January 2014

In our last blog we looked at some of the reasons why your MWC invite might not be up to scratch, but don’t just take our word for it. We’ve asked a selection of the world’s telecom press and analysts about what they’re looking for this year, what invites they’re fed up with and what you can do to try and stand out in Barcelona.

Paul Rasmussen, MWC Daily

How can people get your attention at the show?

“I think you should be early with any attempt to gain attention – the nearer the date the invite/exclusive interview overload becomes unmanageable.

A good invite is the opportunity to easily meet and chat with some executive that will tell you something interesting – not an exclusive focus on their own products, but where the industry is going and why they’re important. Don’t make the venue a million miles away from MWC, and don’t attempt to lock writers into a long lunch/evening meal, etc. Provide them with taxis to get them back to their hotels or another event.


…and what makes for a bad invite?

“Deleted invites are like bad press releases – keep the message obvious and simple and it might gain interest.”


Keith Dyer, The Mobile Network

What themes, technologies or trends are you looking out for at MWC this year?

“I’m looking for companies that have a clear story to tell on how mobile networks will be operated and built, or re-built, over the next few years. What is happening in your R&D right now, what are the key issues for your customers and how are you developing products or services to meet that. In terms of trends: het net co-ordination and introduction of other LTE-A technologies; how networks are getting “smarter”; where and how NFV/cloud tech is being introduced in the network; what SDN means.”

What makes a good invite or pitch for you?

“I think for me a good pitch is one that tells me very clearly what I stand to gain in terms of furthering my understanding of market trends and technology developments, and how the pitching company is driving or responding to those trends.

So that could be a product launch, or a stand demo, or a “meet our CTO” or “meet a key customer”, or even a “catch up over a beer” invitation, as long as there is a specific context in terms of technology or market development. Give me something new to think about, outside of that all too predictable list I compiled above. I love riding on the freshly hewn insights of others to make myself look more knowledgeable!”

What is guaranteed to make you delete an invite?

The offer of a general update that promises a review of a slew of press releases. Or the “catch-all” invite that merely says “X company will be exhibiting our latest products and services, please contact us if you’d be interested in a briefing with any of our execs” (you’d be surprised how many of these there are). I’m sure I speak for other journalists when I say that a little bit of effort to craft the invite to the journalist you are inviting will really lift your chances of scoring a briefing.


Sarah Reedy, Light Reading 

What makes for a good invite?

“A news angle that relates to service providers. Even better if you can share the news early, under embargo or not. Invites that are not relevant to our coverage will be the ones that get deleted.”

Any other tips for PRs and companies trying to stand out?

“I prefer to be contacted by email — one email, without incessant follow ups 🙂 I haven’t started my MWC planning yet, but I’m holding on to every note in a folder, so I can respond to the invites I’m interested in when I do. We are always spread thin at MWC, covering sessions and meeting with service providers, so I can’t prioritise many vendor meetings.”


Caroline Gabriel, ReThink Wireless

What makes MWC so useful for you?

“For me MWC is a lot about seeing clients and the operator research base, and fitting a few vendors in around that for general interest. Many of the tier one vendors now do their analyst briefings in advance of MWC so there’s less time pressure from them.”

How can companies stand out?

“With a media hat on, I’d probably say the way to stand out is to launch at any other time of year except MWC! (Unless you’re Samsung or one of the really big firms).Companies get my attention prior to MWC – or any other time – by understanding what I cover and directing invitations that are directly relevant and by being clear and straightforward about what they are launching or discussing – no wild claims about being the ‘first ever’ or ‘fastest’ or ‘5G/6G’ etc. Tap into themes of course but don’t jump on bandwagons – not every module out there is ‘internet of things’!

So how do you pick your meetings?

I think most people choose their MWC meetings based on specific importance to an area they are covering; companies with which they are already familiar and know there will be interesting material or executives; or conversely a start-up doing something genuinely ground breaking (but those are rare at MWC). So the effective PRs are those with good targeting rather than those claiming the biggest news item.


Lynnette Luna, Current Analysis

How can companies stand out to the Current Analysis team this year?

“I polled my colleagues who have attended Mobile World Congress and various trade shows for years, and the overarching theme is know who are targeting with your pitch. We analysts typically delete all emails from companies that offer up products and solutions in areas totally and obviously out of our coverage areas. In other words, don’t spam the press list with, “dear analyst” and a generic pitch. Once you have done your homework, we like to see a subject line that grabs our attention. Does the product or service target a specific vertical, have a special price point or offer a feature that is unique in the industry? How does your product or service fit with some of the hottest trends? Avoid buzzwords and “vagueness” because we’ll assume that there isn’t a reason for us to read the pitch and delete it.

Any useful tips when people are contacting you?

“We analysts also like to tell you what we know, so offering up a pitch that suggests you want our input along with a briefing goes a long way. And finally, yet equally important, check your spelling and grammar.”

What trends are you looking out for this year?

On the network side: network virtualization, software defined networking, LTE, policy and management. In services: Mobile broadband monetization, OTT competition, big data, connected devices, LTE. And in devices: Emerging mobile platforms (Firefox, Ubuntu etc.), LTE device price points, phablets, smartphones that enable the latest LTE technologies such as carrier aggregation

Darren Willsher

Darren has been with Wildfire for six years and is one of the driving forces behind the agency’s telecoms and networking portfolio, with experience working on a range of international, multi-channel accounts including CSR, Picochip (now Mindspeed), Real Wireless, The Small Cell Forum, Samsung and Allied Telesis.