Info-tech

Coronavirus concerns: GSMA calls off Mobile World Congress 2020

Rajesh Kurup Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 13, 2020 Published on February 13, 2020

Move comes as sponsors, exhibitors withdraw from annual Barcelona event

With a large number of sponsors and exhibitors withdrawing from the Mobile World Congress 2020 citing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (nCov), the GSM Association (GSMA) has cancelled this year’s show.

The event was slated to be held from February 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.

 “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,” GSMA Chief Executive Officer John Hoffman said in an email statement.

MWC Barcelona 2021

The GSMA and the host city partners will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions, it said.

 

 “Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China and all around the world.”

 

Since the first edition of the MWC in Barcelona in 2006, the GSMA has brought together the industry, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and industry leaders across the broader ecosystem, it added.

 

A number of companies including Japan’s Sony Corp, graphics giant Nvidia Corp, Swedish telecom gear-maker Ericsson, South Korea's LG Electronics, software provider Amdocs, e-commerce major Amazon and Japan’s NTT Docomo, among others, had withdrawn from the event. Nvidia was also one of the biggest sponsors of the event.

Indian delegation

 

Every year, 3,000-4,000 Indians – including executives from telecom and technology companies, industry experts and government officials among others – also travel to Barcelona for the event.

 

The GSMA, the organisers of the MWC,   the world’s largest telecom trade event, had taken a lot measures to address   nCov concerns, which included the adoption of a ‘no-handshake policy’ in Barcelona this year. 

 

On February 9, the GSMA had said in a statement  it would be going ahead with the event taking necessary precautions to ensure   public safety. It had barred visitors from the Hubei province in China, the epicentre of the nCov outbreak, as an added safety measure

 

Published on February 13, 2020
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