Mobile World Congress Canceled Over Coronavirus Concerns

(Image credit: Future)

Count Mobile World Congress as the coronavirus’s latest victim.

The GSM Association today announced that it’s cancelling this year’s version of the global wireless industry’s biggest trade event, which was set to kick off in Barcelona, Spain on Feb. 24, amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic originating out of China. 

Cancellations my major constituencies had already become a major issue for GSMA, with AT&T and Sprint jointing Sony, Amazon, Ericsson and host of other major technology companies choosing to eschew the risk of exposing their staffs to the virus. 

Related: Amazon, Sony, Amdocs Join Coronavirus Exodus From Mobile World Congress

In a statement, GSMA CEO John Hoffman said the coronavirus outbreak made conducting a global technology event with a huge Chinese constituency not practical:

“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,” Hoffman said. "The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.”

Globally, coronavirus infections have exceeded 42,000 reported cases, with more than 1,000 reported deaths associated with the illness. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!