On Wednesday morning, Nokia, Vodafone, BT, Deutsche Telekom, HMD, AT&T, Sprint, Cisco, Facebook, Intel, Royole, Sony, Amazon, LG, Vivo, Ericsson, and Nvidia all withdrew from participating at the world's largest wireless industry conference in Barcelona on COVID-19 fears.
By late afternoon, GSMA, an industry group with 750 operators and over 350 companies focused on the wireless industry, canceled the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event slated for Feb. 24 to Feb. 27 in Barcelona on virus concerns.
This is the first time GSMA has canceled the MWC in its 33-year history, which usually sees upwards of 100,000 participants from across the world.
“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 said in a statement.
MWC's theme on the now-canceled event was primarily based on the global rollout of 5G equipment and services. This could be a major setback for the industry as it appears the deadly virus spreading across the world could delay rollouts and planned investments in advanced telecommunication networks.
So it appears the world's largest wireless industry conference was just canceled because of "just the flu." Yeah right... Maybe it's time that governments start telling us the truth about the extent of the virus outbreak - it seems that mega-corporations have already gotten the memo.
And for a good laugh...
CNBC Europe is still showing #MWC commercial. Someone should tell them it‘s over.— Russian Market (@russian_market) February 12, 2020