MWC 2020 cancelled over Coronavirus outbreak fears

Thursday, 13 Feb, 2020

HMD Global and Nokia became the latest big name companies to pull out of this month's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona because of the coronavirus outbreak, adding to the likelihood the trade fair could be scrapped.

This year, though, MWC is getting cancelled.

Companies that canceled their appearance and were due to make announcements at the show will still hold launch events, but not in Barcelona. The list of companies that chose to pull the plug contains major names on the technology world, including such giants as AT&T, Amazon, BT, Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Intel, Facebook, HMD Global, Nokia, LG, Sprint, Verizon, Sony, MediaTek, Royole, Marvell, Volvo, NVIDIA, Marvell, McAfee, Sprint, Rakuten, Western Digital, and Vivo.

The press statement put up on their official website says the decision was made after much deliberation and careful monitoring of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

In a statement quoted by Cnet, Sony said: "As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the hard decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain".

Sony isn't the only high-profile company to either drop out or scale back its MWC plans.

The words in Nokias press release say pretty much the same - it evaluated the situation with GSMA, stakeholders and external experts and authorities, but eventually chose to cancel participation.

Why it matters: MWC is the traditional gathering place of mobile companies from all over the world - and that's the concern.

MWC attendees who have recently been to China will also be asked to confirm they have been outside the country for 14 days prior to the convention.

It was expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors, including 5,000 to 6,000 from China, the source of the viral outbreak that has infected tens of thousands of people and killed more than 1,000.

Bombardier and Gulfstream Aerospace has also said they will not attend.

Starting in early February, multiple vendors began pulling out of the event, citing concerns about the coronavirus and the potential for spreading it at such a large event.