Due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, the GSMA has pulled the plug on this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
Prior to the event, a number of exhibitors and companies started backing out of MWC, including ZTE and LG Electronics. In the following days, AT&T, Facebook, Amazon, Sony, and HMD Global also pulled out from the conference. The major mobile phone event was supposed to be held on February 24 to 27.
MWC organizer GSMA convened with other groups in the industry for the decision.
“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled 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 Josh Hoffman wrote in a statement.
It’s likely that some of the companies that were planning to hold proper launches at the show, including Huawei and Xiaomi, will opt to announce devices via press releases or online launches. Other phone manufacturers might delay their launches and organize press events at a later date.
The coronavirus, now named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, counts 45,000 confirmed cases with 1,310 deaths, as reported by CNN. Most cases of the illness recorded come from Wuhan, China.