Cellular World Congress Is Canceled Over Coronavirus Fears


Cellular World Congress, the wi-fi {industry}’s annual showcase, usually attracts 100,000 representatives from expertise firms, carriers, and governments to Barcelona, Spain. However not this yr. The GSM Affiliation, an {industry} group that organizes the gathering, stated Wednesday it’s pulling the plug on this yr’s affair, the most recent fallout from the coronavirus international well being emergency.

“The GSMA has canceled MWC Barcelona 2020 as a result of the worldwide concern concerning the coronavirus outbreak, journey issues and different circumstances, make it unimaginable for the GSMA to carry the occasion,” the group stated.

The cancelation is the most recent blow to the tech {industry} from the coronavirus, formally named COVID-19 by the World Well being Group. Final week the Nikkei Asian Overview reported that China is obstructing manufacturing large Foxconn from reopening factories, probably delaying manufacturing of gadgets from a number of firms, together with Apple, Amazon, and Huawei.

Well being security preparations weren’t sufficient to save lots of cell congress

{Photograph}: Lluis Gene/Getty Pictures

Greater than 45,000 circumstances of coronavirus have been confirmed globally, in response to WHO’s latest situation report. Cases of the illness have been present in 24 nations, though solely 441 of these circumstances are outdoors China. The dying toll is now greater than 1,100, together with one within the Philippines.

The Cellular World Congress cancelation comes as {industry} consideration is targeted on carriers’ race to improve networks to 5G, the subsequent technology of high-speed wi-fi, and as governments grapple with strain from the US authorities to ban gear made by Chinese language telecom large Huawei. Chinese language firms like Huawei, Motorola, Oppo, Xiaomi, and ZTE, had been anticipated to have a big presence on the present.


Stephen Mears, a analysis analyst on the consulting agency Futuresource, says that within the close to time period, the cancelation shall be a giant blow to the {industry}’s advertising and marketing efforts. Many firms deliberate to make bulletins in the course of the gathering in Barcelona. Samsung, Huawei, Sony, and others have been expected to launch new merchandise. Keynote audio system on the occasion have been to incorporate Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf, and ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish.

A number of firms had already pulled out of the commerce present, together with Amazon, Ericsson, Fb, Nokia, LG Electronics, Sony, and ZTE. Some are planning alternate occasions. “Somewhat than assembly prospects and stakeholders in Barcelona, Nokia plans to go on to prospects with a collection of ‘Nokia Stay’ occasions geared toward showcasing the industry-leading demos and launches scheduled for MWC,” the corporate introduced.

Because the coronavirus outbreak unfold, GSMA initially stated it will ban all vacationers from the Chinese language Hubei province, require guests from China to show that they had not been in China for at the very least 14 days, and display attendees for fevers.

GSMA has been holding Cellular World Congress Barcelona since 2006. The group continues to be planning different occasions, together with Cellular World Congress Shanghai in June and July and Cellular World Congress Los Angeles in October. These occasions will in all probability tackle extra significance this yr, Mears says, although he expects Barcelona to stay necessary. “MWC is more likely to stay the principle hub of the cell {industry} transferring ahead, with the dearth of present this yr greater than doubtless leading to heightened expectation and pleasure in 2021,” he says.

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