Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile show, has been canceled due to Coronavirus concerns. The past week had been difficult for GSMA, the industry body behind MWC. Major exhibitors had been pulling out from the show citing health concerns. Now, the MWC itself is no longer happening. The MWC 2020 was set to take place from February 24 to February 27 in Barcelona, Spain.
The GSM Association (GSMA) has officially released a statement, confirming plans to cancel MWC this year. “The GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Limited, said in a statement. However, it also stated that GSMA and the host city parties are working to support each other for MWC 2021. “Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world,” Hoffman said.
MWC 2020 IS DEAD
Since the Coronavirus outbreak, the MWC has been put into chaos. After rumors, major exhibitors started pulling out. LG, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, NVIDIA, Amazon, Sony, MediaTek and others announced they won’t participate. Major telecom companies also decided to drop out. The exodus of these brands raised questions about the seriousness of MWC this year. Now, the organizing committee itself has decided to not hold this major gathering for technology enthusiasts in the city of Barcelona.
The World Health Organization has officially named the outbreak as COVID-19. It is estimated to have infected over 42,000 people and the number of deaths is said to be at more than 1,000. Ahead of today’s confirmation, GSMA said it won’t allow people traveling from the Hubei province. It also said those who have been to China will have to prove that they were out of the country for at least 14 days before traveling to Spain. There were also strict restrictions like no handshake policy at the event.
GSMA represents more than 1,200 companies and this announcement will affect all of them. It will also hurt the economy of Barcelona and thousands of part-time jobs created during the week. While the financial implications are huge, the announcement seems to be for the best. GSMA has avoided health risks for over 1 lakh people who would have attended MWC this year. However, the question now is whether MWC will have any takers next year. RIP MWC 2020.