Breaking news: MWC 2020 has been cancelled.
See GSMA statement
Fear over the Coronavirus are taking its toll on Mobile World Congress 2020 as companies continue to withdraw from an event that typically draws some 100,000 people to Barcelona. The list of pullouts, as reported by the business press, includes notable companies such as:
- NTT Docomo
Light Reading reports that Ericsson rival Nokia is watching and waiting.
It’s not just these major exhibitors that have pulled out. Indeed, 5G Technology World received a press release from VIAVI Solution announcing that telecom test-equipment company was also pulling out. In a February 8 press release, the company said:
After reviewing all available data, VIAVI has chosen to cancel participation in this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona out of an abundance of caution and concern for our employees, customers and partners. VIAVI remains excited about its powerful suite of 5G solutions. We will be contacting customers and other stakeholders that we intended to meet at the show to arrange alternative means to showcase our expanding RAN to Core portfolio to help network operators master and monetize the 5G opportunity in order to:
- Ensure maximum production yield and interoperability
- Maximize field technician efficiency
- Identify and monetize new revenue streams
Although the list of major-exhibitor pullouts is still short, it is raising concerns in the business press about the viability of MWC 2020. Other companies not likely to make the lists compiled by the business press such as Anritsu, Keysight Technologies and Rohde & Schwarz have not announced pullouts.
MWC organizer GSMA will take measures to minimize the risk, including a ban on all travellers from the Hubei province of China. Other will have to prove that they have not visited China within two weeks of the event, which would cover the Coronavirus incubation period.
Just prior to posting time, 5GTW received a press release from InterDigital, a mobile and video technology research and development company, announcing that the company is withdrawing from MWC citing concerns over the Coronavirus.