Mobile World Congress and Coronavirus

Given the number of companies pulling out or severely limiting their activities at the convention, Mobile World Congress Barcelona has been canceled. MWC 2020 phone event canceled because of coronavirus outbreak.

Mobile World Congress 2020 is canceled. The GSMA, the organization responsible for the Barcelona event, announced Wednesday that it’s calling off this year’s MWC, a major event for the mobile phone industry, given the number of companies withdrawing because of the coronavirus.

“The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for GSMA to hold the event,” John Hoffman, CEO of the GSMA, said in a statement.

The GSM Association GSMA represents telecom networks. Every year they hold Mobile World Congress Barcelona, where a lot of companies announce new products. This year would have been a little different. Android Police – All the companies that have withdrawn from MWC — New: Vodafone and Telekom.

Companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google won’t be that much put out by this, but a lot of the smaller phone manufacturers could be hit pretty hard by this.

Companies that had announced they would stay away from MWC include.

  1. Amazon
  2. AT&T
  3. Sony
  4. Sprint

That is only a partial list of people who were going to stay away from MWC completely. For example, NVIDIA is an MWC sponsor, and they said that they would also not be attending.

Then there are the list of companies who were still planing to attend, but were limiting what they would do, who they would send, and how they would interact with people.

Samsung apparently has said little that is official, but many employees had been canceling trips to Spain.

Xiaomi was still going to attend, but they had canceled some events, instituted a “no handshake policy” and were going to be frequently sanitizing everything in their booth.

The list of companies who were downgrading their attendance is also longer than what I’ve covered here.

GSMA had a bunch of “safety precautions” announced, but in the end the global pandemic won.

MWC is a big event for the mobile phone industry, and has a large impact on the Barcelona economy. Still, GSMA was apparently considering not canceling as of early Wednesday, and had even announced earlier that they would go ahead with the conference as planned in spite of the cancelations, but it became too much.