Major blow to MWC as Ericsson pulls out due to coronavirus

Yolanda Curtis
February 15, 2020

After an extensive internal risk assessment, Ericsson has made a decision to take further precautionary measures by withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020, the largest event in the telecom industry.

GSMA, the organizing committee for the Mobile World Congress understands the risk of the virus but also values the importance of keeping the show running.

Pulling out of the Mobile World Congress is not a decision exhibitors take lightly, with the cost of putting up and running a stand running into millions of dollars, according to people who have worked on project teams for the event in past years. We've been looking forward to sharing our work in AI, 5G, and vRAN with the industry.

Demos and content created for the event will be shared at a series of events the company is calling "Ericsson Unboxed".

But this year is bound to be different. The reported number of coronavirus infections in China alone has increased to 34,000 and numerous cases outside the country borders have also been reported.

The most recent turmoil for MWC occurred on Friday, when Swedish company Ericsson, a major provider of telecommunications infrastructure equipment, resigned from February 24-27 because it feared that the health and safety of employees and customers could not be guaranteed become.

Why it matters: Korean phone maker LG already pulled out and China's ZTE cancelled a press conference, raising the question of whether others will cancel plans. Just hours before, organizers of the event had reportedly said the virus had a minimal impact on it.

The company also announced that in lieu of its participation in MWC, LG will be holding separate events in the near future to announce its 2020 mobile products.

About the GSMA The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. In addition to its health risks, the coronavirus has had a domino effect on global companies and industries.

"The GSMA is building on its existing plans to protect the health of our attendees, clients and staff at MWC Barcelona".

"Ericsson's cancellation will have some impact on our presence at this time and will potentially have further impact", the group said.

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