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Zuckerberg to headline phone show Mobile World Congress

Mark Zuckerberg likes this: the Facebook founder will deliver the keynote speech at phone-focused industry extravaganza in February.

Making a speech isn't cool. You know what's cool? Making a keynote speech. And that's what's in the cards for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who will headline the phone industry extravaganza Mobile World Congress next month.

Zuckerberg's keynote opens the mobile-focused trade show on February 24, and will be streamed online. He'll be joined onstage by the technology journalist David Kirkpatrick, author of officially sanctioned chronicle "The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World" to discuss "extending the benefits of ubiquitous Internet access to the unconnected world."

Zuckerberg formed the initiative last year, recruiting companies including Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung to bring affordable Internet access to the developing world.

Still, the Facebook founder and CEO is an interesting choice to headline a show centered on mobile devices, considering the abject failure this year of the long-rumored "Facebook phone," the HTC First. The First showed off Facebook Home, a customized Android interface that arrived a day late and a dollar short -- in some regions the First was hastily canned before it even hit shops.

Other keynote speakers at MWC include Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM; Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T; and Kaoru Kato, president of NTT Docomo. Tech upstarts, meanwhile, are represented by Lance Howarth, CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation; Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp; and Jon Matonis, executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation.

Meanwhile Tony and BAFTA Award-winning British actor, writer, and comedian James Corden will present the Global Mobile Awards lauding the best of the mobile industry.

MWC takes place in Barcelona starting February 24, with announcements starting a few days earlier. CNET's crack away team of mobile experts will be in Spain to bring you news, previews and hands-on first impressions of all the coolest kit you need to know about, complete with glossy photos and shiny videos.