The GSMA, the organisation that puts on Mobile World Congress every year, said it is cancelling the MWC 2020 over coronavirus concerns. It was scheduled to run from February 24th until February 27th.
“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,” the GSMA said.
Every year over 100,000 technology journalists, enthusiasts, exhibitors and sales people decent on Barcelona where the world’s biggest tech companies reveal the latest and greatest of their wares. A big reason for GSMA’s concern is the fact that a very large percentage of that number are people that are either based in China or works for Chinese based companies.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus by the Chinese government currently stand at 42,000 and over 1,000 of those have unfortunately died. Many countries around the world have instituted travel restrictions to and from China, with several private airline companies also choosing not to fly those routes through China.
It feels like the writing was on the wall for MWC since a couple of weeks ago, as several major companies announced their withdrawal from the conference. This includes LG, Sony, Amazon and NVIDIA. Samsung had also decided to reduce its presence significantly.
Most companies that were planning to reveal new hardware at Mobile World Congress have decided to hold their own separate events, so don’t expect the tech news to slow down around that time. Several will also stream these events live on YouTube.
It is certainly sad to see the biggest mobile technology conference in the world not being held this year, but is there are real threats of the virus spreading to Europe as a result of such a show we applaud the decision.