The yearly Barcelona bash usually sees over 100,000 well-connected mobile minds getting together to launch services and devices, plus it’s a fantastic opportunity for businesses to collaborate, meet and demonstrate their products. We’ve attended each and every year since the Mobile World Congress landed in Spain, and it’s grown into a colossal event where the latest models of smartphones get their first exposure to the world.
This year though, a long shadow has been cast over the event by the coronavirus outbreak. Getting so many people from all over the world under one roof was seen as too much of a risk, and an announcement just moments ago has confirmed that the event will not go ahead.
The many thousands of plane and train tickets will now go unused. Hotel rooms and Airbnb’s will lie empty and the huge halls in the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via will be eerily quiet this year.
For the smaller companies hoping to grab some exposure, for those attending to grab a meeting with an all-important contact, and for the bigger mobile players who invest in massive stands – it’s a big and last minute cancellation which will leave a lasting impact. Many of the smaller players invest a huge amount in the few days at the event.
Over the next couple of weeks, you’re probably going to see a lot of announcements done “virtually” instead.
John Hoffman, chief executive officer of conference stated..
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.
Hopefully, all being well, we’ll try again in 2021.
Full press announcement can be found on the GSMA website here.