Safety concerns due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic around the world, delays telecom sector’s biggest gathering to June 2021
The organisers of the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) have confirmed they are postponing next year’s event to late June 2021.
The ongoing Covid-19 infections around the world have prompted the organisers to delay next years show (normally held in February) to June.
The Mobile World Congress showcase slated for February 2020 in Barcelona (Spain), where many new phones should have been unveiled for the first time, was eventually cancelled as the severity of the Covid-19 outbreak began to be appreciated.
Next year’s event, MWC 2021, had originally scheduled for early March, but will now be held from 28 June to 1 July 2021.
The GSMA said it was committed and investing so that MWC21 Barcelona can go ahead safely. MWC21 Barcelona will combine both face-to-face meetings and also have virtual elements.
“With a continuously changing global outlook and following consultation with our board and membership and our top exhibitors, we have taken the careful decision to reschedule MWC21 Shanghai in February, and MWC21 Barcelona in June,” said Mats Granryd, GSMA director general. “The health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees, staff and the people of Barcelona are of paramount importance.”
The GSMA said the rescheduling respects the global circumstance surrounding Covid-19.
“It’s going to be physical. It’s going to be face to face. But it’s going to have a bigger virtual component,” Granryd was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“Having 110,000-plus events is less interesting – getting the right people is more interesting,” he told Reuters in an interview.
The delay reportedly gives the GSMA time to strengthen hygiene measures.
Granryd expressed hope that, by next summer, it will be possible for delegates to take quick Covid-19 tests at their hotel before heading to the event.
He also expressed confidence that people would have access to vaccines, now under development, once they become available.