The Mobile World Congress is cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis

by Florian Maximiliano
The Mobile World Congress is cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis

: The GSMA cancelled the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 after long discussions.

The organization adopted this drastic decision to cancel Mobile World Congress after the wave of casualties and despite the fact that the authorities insist that there is no health risk.

After a 6 hour long meeting with 28 participants, the show is cancelled

The council of the GSMA, has informed after its meeting on Wednesday that it cancelled the Mobile World Congress. MWC was going to be held between 24 and February 27 in the Catalan capital.

GSMA is the highest governing body of the association of operators that organizes the Mobile World Congress (MWC). They took the decision after a meeting that lasted almost six hours. Twenty six representatives from the main telecommunications operators from around the world  participated the meeting.

“The GSMA has decided to cancel due to the global concern generated by the outbreak of the coronavirus, the concern about traveling and other circumstances that make it impossible to continue with the event,” the organization said in a statement signed by the head of the the fair, John Hoffman.

Administrations, as explained by the organization, respect and understand the decision. “We will continue to work with local authorities in unison and will support each other for the Mobile World Congress 2021 and future editions,” says the GSMA.

The Mobile World Congress is cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis

Major companies left and GSMA cancelled

The wave of cancellation of participations by the major companies due to fear of the coronavirus has caused the GSMA to adopt this emergency decision. The governing body took the decision despite themselves and the authorities (Central Government, Generalitat and Barcelona City Council) believed that there is no health risk for the event.

For 2020, more than 100,000 attendees and 2,800 companies was planning to attend the event.

Among the departees are Cisco, Intel, AT&T, Sprint, Facebook and Mcafee; mobile manufacturers Vivo, Sony, LG, TCL or HMD; and network companies such as Nokia and Ericsson. Also on Wednesday, European operators which has a great weight in the GSMA, such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange and BT, also announced that they would not attend the fair.

The total participation cost is 500 million euros

The consequences of this cancellation will have a huge economic impact on the city. Only the participation costs amount to 500 million euros. And now there is a long legal battle to resolve who is responsible for these expenses, whether the participating companies or the GSMA, because insurance does not cover contingencies such as a viral epidemic.

Since the first cancellation by LG on Tuesday, last week, official statements have been made by the three competent Administrations in support of the congress. All of them agreed that there was no health risk that would cause a cancellation.

GSMA took severe measures, but it didn’t stop big tech from leaving

The organization of the event took measures to avoid a possible contagion. The proposals started with offering to change the microphones regularly and suggest that the attendees not greet each other with a handshake. Then the precautions got also severe. The organization wanted to prohibit the entry of any traveler arriving from the Chinese province of Hubei. They also required a proval from the attendees that they had not been in China in the last 14 days.

Despite the efforts of GSMA, the list of departees increased.

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