Amazon withdraws from MWC over coronavirus-related concerns

Ruben Fields
March 26, 2020

In today's announcement, the GSMA also noted it wanted to keep Barcelona, the host city for MWC, safe from the illness.

The GSMA has yet to comment on future events, but it looks unlikely that it will be rescheduling the show at a later date considering the organizer's main statement.

The decision comes after dozens of tech companies and wireless carriers dropped out, with the latest cancelations by Nokia Oyj, Vodafone Group PLC, Deutsche Telekom AG and Britain's BT PLC. However, the coronavirus outbreak and fear of the illness spreading through the show's venue prompted numerous leading electronics vendors, including LG, Amazon, Intel, and Nvidia, to cancel their attendance. Event officials also plan to implement temperature screening for attendees, while stepping up cleaning and the availability of sanitizers at the MWC venue. "Its cancellation will, no doubt, result in losses for vendors who had big plans at the event".

Peng indicated that "it would be hard to find a bigger stage than MWC this year".

Since the first edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2006, the GSMA has convened the industry, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and industry leaders across the broader ecosystem.

Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics also joined the list of absentees on Wednesday, scheduled to take place on February 24-27.

Care home residents play Hungry Hippos
The original tabletop game has four hippos with moveable mouths that players control to eat as many marbles as possible. The residents and staff are well and there is no current coronavirus-related illness in the home.

The GSMA had announced in a press release on Sunday that MWC would go on as planned, even if some of the biggest companies had pulled out, saying there were still 2,800 other exhibitors attending the event.

With peak data rates up to 100 times faster than 4G, 5G is expected to serve as the connective tissue for the internet of things, autonomous cars, smart cities and other new mobile applications.

MWC Barcelona serves as "a catalyst to facilitate the industry's momentum", said Bryan Ma, vice-president of client devices research at IDC.

The vast majority of people affected by coronavirus are in China where there have been 908 deaths and 40,171 confirmed infections, as of the time this article was posted.

Two further MWCC trade shows are due to take place later this year in Shanghai (June) and Los Angeles (October), though nothing has been announced regarding each's status yet.

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