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MWC 2020 has been cancelled – what happens next?

Mobile World Congress 2020 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus, organisers GSMA have now confirmed.

Following a scoop from Financial Times reporter Daniel Thomas, the GSMA confirmed the threat of the virus has caused it to pull this year’s Barcelona event, which had been scheduled to start on February 24.

In a statement, the body said the “global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event”

It added: “The host city parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the host city partners will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions.”


Many of the major vendors had already announced they were pulling out of the show, citing fears over employee safety. The likes of Sony, LG, Facebook, Amazon and Intel were among the high profile names ditching the show long before word of the cancellation became official.

Up until minutes ago, the GSMA, which represents telecom giants around the world, was still enabling potential attendees to buy passes from its website.

Related: Best smartphone 2020

Trusted Reviews had been planning to attend the show in Barcelona to bring you hands-on reviews of a wave of new smartphones and tablets arriving in early 2020.

The cancellation will cause huge disruption to manufacturers’ plans to unveil their new wares. We now expect the leading tech brands to hastily announce alternate arrangements. Those may be in the form of live-streamed press conferences, as Sony confirmed it would be doing earlier this week.

While many of the major smartphone players now unveil their new devices at standalone events (Samsung, Google, Apple and OnePlus for example), MWC is still the most important mobile show of the year and we were excited to see all of the new 5G devices likely to be announced during the show.

Look out for statements from the tech world’s finest announcing those alternate arrangements in the near future. We’re off to cancel our hotel rooms and tapas bar reservations.

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