The GSMA Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry and incorporates a thought-leadership conference featuring prominent executives representing global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors, and content owners.
This year’s event was scheduled to take place in Fira Gran Via in Barcelona from Monday 24th February 2020 to Thursday 27th February 2020 has been called off due to fears of the spread of coronavirus.
The coronavirus infections, now officially called COVID-19 have exceeded 42,000 with the total number of deaths at more than 1,000 with most infections and deaths reported in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei Province in China, but at least 25 countries have now reported cases.
The GSMA which had tried to allay fears by assuring increased disinfection measures on-site and recommending attendees don’t shake hands during the event as well as banning visitors travelling from the province in China where coronavirus was first discovered.
These measures though were not accepted in good faith by many tech giants that participate in the event. LG a week ago where the first to opt-out of the congress after which many others like Ericsson, Nvidia, Intel, Vivo, Sony and Amazon followed suit till the number of participating firms were too small a number to hold a successful event.
GSMA took this decision on Wednesday 12th of February after Nokia, HMD, Deutsche Telekom and BT all dropped out of the event.
The GSMA is an industry trade body that represents more than 1,200 companies across the mobile ecosystem, and the annual congress is the chance for thousands to gather for partnerships, deals, and product launches.
In an emailed statement, John Hoffman, the CEO of GSMA, told Bloomberg this: “With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, 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.”
The world largest mobile show taking a back seat this year. Hopefully, they are able to hold a much bigger event next year when a cure to the deadly virus is found.