Saturday, 08 August, 2020

The world's biggest smartphone conference was just cancelled because of coronavirus concerns

MWC Mobile World Congress The Biggest Mobile Event of the Year Could Be Canceled Due to Coronavirus
Cecil Davis | 13 February, 2020, 21:26

"The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible", said John Hoffman, CEO of MWC organizer GSMA.

MWC 2020 has been cancelled over health concerns caused by the deadly coronavirus outbreak, says Bloomberg.

GSMA, the organisation behind the event, had said on Sunday that the show in Barcelona would go on despite some companies pulling out, adding that there were still 2,800 exhibitors planning to attend.

The affiliation mentioned, "Our sympathies are with those affected by the Corona virus at the moment in China and around the world". It was originally scheduled to run between 24 February and 27 February.

Shortly after that initial report came out, the GSMA issued an official press release. Around the same time the GSMA announced enhanced measures for personal health and safety at the show.

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Companies that have announced their withdrawal due to this coronavirus fear include Amazon, Ericsson, Facebook, Sony, Intel, Cisco and LG, BT, Nokia, Ericsson, the United States chipmaker Intel, Cisco, Vodafone, and Germany's Deutsche Telekom.

The wireless industry scrapped its biggest annual showcase after the coronavirus outbreak sparked an exodus of participants, roiling telecom companies just as they're preparing to roll out new 5G services. "MWC is an anchor event for many and now they face the challenge of having to figure out what the best way to salvage something from this hard situation".

"It's becoming less and less valuable for people like us to attend if we're not able to get meetings with the high-level executives", he said. Beyond the expenses of the GSMA itself, Catalan media have previously estimated that the event generates €492 million ($546.1 million) for the city and creates about 14,000 temporary jobs. "We will continue to work together for the 2021 and later editions of the Mobile World Congress Party".

Deutsche Telekom had said it would be "irresponsible" to send its staff to a large gathering with so many global guests.

We understand the reason is that organizers would not be able to get a refund for the cancellation without Spain declaring a health emergency, something the country is not prepared to do at present.