Presenters know there’s nothing worse when the connection falls out, and participants at an industry event about mobile technology at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai this week, were bemused on this week to find themselves not being able to rely on the Wi-fi connection provided at the conference site.

The GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) launched its first Asia-focused event in China’s financial capital this week, hot on the heels of the hugely successful, and inaugural, Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Asia in the same city in May.

Both CES Asia and the ongoing Mobile World Congress Shanghai attracted global industry leaders and analysts to attend various meetings and exhibitions, but the latest round of disruptions to mobile internet services has left the organisers embarrassed.


MWC Shanghai provides two official Wi-fi connections, both of which went down briefly ahead of the keynote speech on Wednesday morning by Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers.

The connections soon recovered but remained unstable throughout the day, despite China Mobile serving as a technical support party throughout the proceedings. The most likely cause of the meltdown was over-capacity. Such incidents are commonplace at big international sporting events in the city, for example when large crowds gather to watch the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Chinese Formula One Grand Prix or World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.