MWC cancelled over coronavirus fears

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The world’s largest mobile phone showcase, Mobile World Congress (MWC), has been cancelled over coronavirus concerns, organisers have confirmed.

Due to be held in Barcelona from 24-27 February, the event is usually attended by 100,000 people, about 6,000 of whom travel from China.

Organisers, the GSM Association (GSMA), said it had become “impossible” for the event to go ahead as planned in Barcelona. Korean firm LG were the first company to officially declare that they would not be attending the event over fears of the coronavirus outbreak, but it was Ericsson last Friday that struck the first major blow.

Since then, a slew of companies have been steadily pulling out, with the most recent losses of Nokia, BT, Vodafone, Orange, and Deutsche Telekom just some of the high-profile exhibitors to have withdrawn from the annual event, citing coronavirus fears.

However  Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, urged people to remain calm, saying they should “trust in the Spanish health system” and “take decisions based on scientific evidence”.

Said Ben Wood, Chief of Research, CCS Insight 

“The GSMA has been a victim of circumstances out of its control and it’s a huge disappointment the show will not go ahead this year.” 

“The impact on small companies who have invested a disproportionate amount of their budgets and time on this event should not be under-estimated. 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 difficult situation.”

“The GSMA now needs to be careful that there is not a knock of effect from this year’s cancellation. Major companies and many attendees will be reviewing the importance of MWC to their business and the GSMA must work hard to have a clear path forward.”

 

Chris Price
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