Breaking News: Mobile World Congress 2020 succumbs to Coronavirus

14th Feb, 2020

Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the MICE Industry and the biggest mobile technology event of the year, scheduled for the last week of February, will no longer happen. Mobile World Congress 2020 was officially canceled by the president of the GSMA, the organization that controls the event and dictates telecommunications standards worldwide.

Large companies such as LG, Sony, Ericsson, Nokia, Amazon, Intel and several others had previously withdrawn their participation in the event, but brands like Xiaomi and Huawei were counting on MWC 2020 to show their innovations in 5G mobility to the world. More than 100 thousand visitors and exhibitors were expected at Fira Barcelona, Spain, and it is not yet known exactly what each company will do to celebrate the launch of its new products.

"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", said the organization's President, John Hoffman, in this statement.

MWC's Significance on the Global Sector

More than a "showcase" for new products, the GSMA MWC series (formally known as Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, and incorporates a thought-leadership conference featuring prominent executives representing global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors, and content owners. It is there that operators meet with manufacturers to negotiate devices that will compose the portfolio offered to their customers, that suppliers present new technologies or components and that OEMs present device designs that can reach markets worldwide for B2B. It is also here that technical discussions take place that will impact the definition and implementation of new network technologies, such as 5G.

Cancellation Losses

There is still no official information on who should bear the losses generated by the cancellation: the organization itself or the visitors and exhibitors. In any case, the values are high. A single ticket from MWC 2020 cost 799 euros (something around 866 dollars) and the values for exhibitors to have huge spaces at the fair must have been even higher. The biggest losers with this revocation must be small companies, as stated by Ben Wood, Industry analyst from the CCS Insight consultancy; "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 the best way to salvage something from this difficult situation." 

The Impact of Coronavirus 

As we already wrote in our initial article on the epidemic, Coronavirus infections have exceeded 42,000 with the total number of deaths at more than 1,000. Most infections and deaths have been discovered in Wuhan and Hubei province, China, but at least 25 countries have reported similar cases of contagion that are turning the meetings industry upside down. Stay in touch about the new developments in these latest news and do not neglect prevention and first care at your next event.

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