Update, February 12, 2020 (2 PM ET): The final shoe has dropped as the Mobile World Congress 2020 show itself has now been canceled by its operators, the GSMA, due to the current coronavirus threat.
MWC 2020 is no longer going forward in late February in Barcelona, Spain. This decision was made after several companies announced they will not be attending the trade show due to the current coronavirus outbreak.
Before the decision was made to shut down the show, the following companies revealed they would not attend the event, at least in part.
Amazon is one of the bigger names to skip MWC, revealing that it won’t be exhibiting or participating in the expo at all.
“Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about the new coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020,” the company was quoted as saying by Reuters.
In a statement to Eli Blumenthal on February 11, AT&T confirmed that it will not be attending MWC 2020. The details can be found below:
AT&T statement notes and respect steps @GSMA has taken to protect against coronavirus, but says that “the most responsible decision is to withdraw our participation from the event to safeguard our employees and customers.” pic.twitter.com/kM3i4ntDMU
— Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) February 11, 2020
The telecommunications giant announced on February 7 that it will be pulling out of MWC 2020 due to the coronavirus threat.
Ericsson cited its “responsibility for the health and safety of employees, customers, and other stakeholders” as the primary reason for withdrawing. Instead of attending MWC, the company will hold “Ericsson Unboxed” events instead, which will be mini-events taking place “closer to customers.” Ericsson did not give any further details on where or when these events might take place.
Facebook announced on February 11 that it will be joining the list of companies who will no longer be attending MWC 2020 (h/t: CNET). Naturally, the company’s fears about its employees contracting the coronavirus will keep it from participating in the event.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees won’t be attending this year’s Mobile World Congress due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We will continue to collaborate with the GSMA and our partners and thank them for their efforts.”
The Nokia brand licensee was originally scheduled to hold a Sunday press conference in Barcelona as well as exhibit at MWC itself. But the firm has announced that it’s withdrawn from all events.
“After much deliberation, and following recommendations from the relevant health authorities, we have decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC Barcelona, 2020,” the company stated in a release.
The firm said it still plans to show off what it had planned to announce in Barcelona, and will share details on how it will do so “soon.”
On February 10, Intel announced it was pulling out of MWC 2020 to protect its staff from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak (h/t: VentureBeat). Intel still plans to make an announcement during the event, but it won’t have any company representatives on-site.
“The safety and wellbeing of all our employees and partners is our top priority, and we have withdrawn from this year’s Mobile World Congress out of an abundance of caution,” said an Intel spokesperson. “We are grateful to the GSMA for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future Mobile World Congress events.”
In a press release sent to media outlets, LG announced that, due to safety concerns of the coronavirus outbreak on the company’s employees and the general public, it has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020. LG said its decision will “prevent needlessly exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, which most health experts have advised.” It added that it plans to reveal its 2020 smartphone plans in separate events in the near future.
On February 11, in a statement sent to Engadget, MediaTek announced its withdrawal from MWC 2020. Like every other company that is backing out of the event, MediaTek cited health concerns for its staff and others attending MWC as the reasoning behind its absence.
“MediaTek has been following the Novel Coronavirus (nCov) closely,” said a MediaTek spokesperson. “After careful assessment, MediaTek decided to withdraw from MWC Barcelona 2020 for employees, customers, and partners’ health and safety concern. We will consider other ways to share our 5G and all related technological breakthroughs.”
Yes, Nokia proper is also pulling out of the world’s biggest smartphone expo. The Finnish telecommunications company said it consulted the GSMA, external experts, and authorities in a bid to make a decision.
“The conclusion of that process is that we believe the prudent decision is to cancel our participation at Mobile World Congress,” the firm said in a press release announcing its decision. “We want to express our thanks to the GSMA, the governments of China and Spain as well as Catalonia’s Generalitat, and many others who have worked tirelessly to address the challenges resulting from the novel coronavirus, and they have our full support as they move forward.”
Silicon giant Nvidia is known more for its graphics cards than its mobile technology, but it’s a frequent MWC exhibitor. Unfortunately, it won’t be attending this year’s edition.
“We’ve informed GSMA, the organizers of MWC Barcelona, that we won’t be sending our employees to this year’s event,” the company said in a news release. “Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our highest concern.”
The company confirmed that it was due to present its work on AI, 5G, and vRAN in Barcelona.
The Japanese giant announced its intention to withdraw from MWC 2020 on Monday February 10, citing the coronavirus threat as well.
“As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain,” the company stated in a news release.
Sony was scheduled to hold a launch event in Barcelona on February 24, but this will now be an online event on the same day at 8:30AM CET.
“Our team will not be attending MWC due to concerns around the novel coronavirus,” said Sprint.
Also due to health concerns regarding the current coronavirus breakout, TCL canceled its MWC 2020 press event, which was scheduled for February 22. None of TCL’s other MWC activities are impacted by this decision though. The company will still hold its scheduled pre-briefings at its private offsite showroom and at the TCL booth in the Fira Gran Via where it will announce and showcase its upcoming mobile handsets February 24-27.
“TCL is grateful to the GSMA for their most recent guidance and update regarding the potential impact of the 2019-nCoV virus on MWC 2020 and will continue to follow their updates, monitor this situation closely, and share further updates as necessary,” said a TCL spokesperson.
Probably the most high-profile smartphone brand to pull out as of February 11 was Vivo, announcing that it will completely withdraw from MWC. The firm was due to unveil its Vivo Apex Concept 2020 device at the expo.
“Vivo has been closely monitoring the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) outbreak and continuously evaluating planned activities,” read an excerpt of an email to Android Authority. “The health and safety of our employees and the public are our top priority. Based on the present situation, we have decided to withdraw from our debut at MWC 2020 and other related events later this month in Barcelona, Spain.”
In a statement sent to The Verge, ZTE also confirmed that it will not be holding a press event during MWC 2020. Part of the reason for this decision, according to a company spokesperson, was because some ZTE employees were already contending with visa and travel delays to Barcelona. The spokesperson added that ZTE tends “to be an overly courteous company, and simply don’t want to make people uncomfortable.”
ZTE did clarify afterward though, confirming to Android Authority that while it won’t be having a press event, it will maintain a booth presence.
Furthermore, it announced several measures it will be taking for staff. These measures include senior ZTE leaders being isolated in Europe for at least two weeks before MWC, and all employees undergoing two weeks of self-isolation before departing for Barcelona.