Mobile World Congress is officially canceled due to Coronavirus concerns
Organizers on Wednesday officially canceled Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest cell phone show. After weeks of major companies pulling out of the Barcelona trade show due to fears about the coronavirus (COVID-19. as the World Health Organization, aka WHO, is now calling it), GSMA, the organization in charge of the show, has decided to cancel.
“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has canceled 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,” GSMA CEO John Hoffman wrote in a statement.
MWC is the mobile industry’s most important trade show, with 2,800 businesses originally scheduled to attend this year’s event. It’s where companies like LG, Huawei, Samsung, and more go to show off their latest devices and innovative software. Since 2006, the event has been held in Barcelona. As speculation grew about a potential cancellation, both the GSMA and the city of Barcelona publicly tried to assuage concerns.
On Wednesday, however, Wired reported that the GSMA was lobbying the city to declare a health emergency so they could cancel the event without incurring significant fees. Depending on what insurance policy the show had, for example, a public health emergency might have allowed them to recoup losses.