After speculation as to whether the show would be cancelled or not, the GSM Association (or GSMA) has confirmed that Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona has been cancelled. The move is due to the recent outbreak of the deadly coronavirus which has led to the death of over 1,000 infected individuals. More than 42,000 people have been confirmed to be infected with the virus, making it far too wide spread for a trade show to try and control.
Before this news broke, companies like LG, ZTE, Facebook, Apple, Nvidia, Intel, Sony, Amazon, and Vivo announced they would either have no presence or a reduced presence at MWC in order to keep their employees safe. The GSMA was also implementing guidelines for visitors such as no hand-shaking, wearing masks, and more to try and prevent as many germs as they could form spreading. Unfortunately, their efforts simply weren’t enough and they were left with no choice to can the entire operation.
The following statement was included in today’s announcement.
“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 Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.”
As far as the news that typically comes out of MWC, the show was supposed to be held February 24th – 27th, so you can probably expect some announcements from your favorite manufacturers around that time. However, some OEMs such as LG have confirmed they’ll be having separate events and briefings to spread the word about their latest products. It isn’t clear when these will be taking place.
All that I can confirm right now is there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the repercussions of cancelling MWC. We’ll have to wait a week or so for the dust to settle and for companies to figure out alternative plans. Stay tuned for those updates and more.