Ericsson will not be heading to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2020, the company has announced.
The Swedish telecoms giant follows LG in pulling out of the conference entirely. Both cited health and safety concerns, centred around the coronavirus outbreak.
Ericsson has said that the demos that had been planned for MWC will instead take place at smaller, more localised events called ‘Ericsson Unboxed’.
“Following the outbreak and continued spreading of the novel corona virus, Ericsson has closely monitored the development and adhered to recommendations from relevant national authorities and international bodies, such as the WHO [World Health Organisation],” Ericsson said, in a press release.
“After an extensive internal risk assessment, Ericsson has decided to take further precautionary measures by withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020, the largest event in the telecom industry.
“Ericsson appreciates that GSMA have done everything they can to control the risk. However, as one of the largest exhibitors, Ericsson has thousands of visitors in its hall each day and even if the risk is low, the company cannot guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors.”
The president and CEO of Ericsson, Börje Ekholm, added: “The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona. It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event.”
When LG pulled out it offered a similar statement: “With the safety of its employees, partners and customers foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain… This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders.”
ZTE has cancelled its MWC press conference, but the company will still be attending the conference. Meanwhile, the GSMA has advised attendees to not shake hands at the event.