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MWC 2020 Cancelled Due to Rising Concern Over Coronavirus

Mobile World Congress, also known as MWC has been officially cancelled by organizers GSMA. A statement issued by GSMA said

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 press release

This comes on the heels of arguably one of the biggest smartphone releases of the year, the Samsung Galaxy S20. GSMA anticipates that MWC will be back up and running next year.

Mobile World Congress is the largest mobile phone trade show of the year. Numerous companies including LG, ZTE, ASUS, and more typically announce new phones just ahead of the trade show. TCL in particular planned to officially launch at least three new smartphones at the MWC this year.

Other companies like LG and Sony had already announced plans to skip the show in order to keep their employees safe. Of the 100,000 or so attendees of the conference, a large percentage of them come from China which the coronavirus has hit the hardest thus far. According to the Washington Post, coronavirus infections reached 44,653 worldwide with a death toll of 1,113.

Overall, considering the potential consequences, this seems like a good idea. It’s nice to “ohh” and “ahh” over shiny new phones, but putting representatives from 200 countries in the same room all shaking hands and holding the same devices while a deadly disease continues to spread around the world is probably not the greatest idea. We love new phones as much as the next website, but we like staying alive even more.

It bears watching what companies will do now without the tradshow to highlight their products. It will also be interesting to see what happens with other world-wide conferences in the not-too-distant future.