Mobile World Congress – the biggest independent smartphone show of the year – could be cancelled following the withdrawal of a host of big name attendees.
Organisers GSMA will meet on Friday to discuss the possible cancellation of this year’s Barcelona expo amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reports on Tuesday.
The event is scheduled to begin on February 24, but the list of absentees has continued to mount up this week, and is showing no signs of abating.
After the withdrawal of LG, Sony, Amazon, Nvidia over the last couple of days, Facebook, Intel, Cisco, Vivo, MediaTek and many others have decided not to risk attending MWC 2020 – citing employee safety.
Sony has already confirmed it will launch its devices via a YouTube stream instead. Xiaomi, meanwhile, is one of the companies still planning to attend at the time of writing.
If the organisers do go ahead with the event, it appears the number of exhibitors will be dramatically down on the typically packed halls at the Fira trade fairgrounds that also attract thousands of enthusiasts and journalists.
Speaking from the experience of attending MWC in Barcelona, it is one of the busiest shows of the year, with attendees in close quarters, fighting to get their hands on the mobile devices that will headline 2020. That doesn’t stop once everyone leaves the show floor, with MWC also one of the social highlights of the tech calendar, taking place in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
GSMA had previously issued an updated set of health guidelines for exhibitors and attendees as the fears over the spread of the virus continue to grow. The organisers even advised against shaking hands with people during the event.
Those fears have been heightened significantly by further warnings from the World Health Organisations, which is warning the virus carries a global threat that could even eclipse terrorism.
Trusted Reviews is still planning to attend MWC 2020 to get our hands on the latest phones and mobile devices. However, the situation remains exceptionally fluid and we eagerly anticipate new information from GSMA before the end of the week.