Nokia is the latest company to back out of MWC 2020. Like others, Nokia citied the Coronavirus outbreak as the reason for backing out of the trade show. The company will be joining Facebook, AT&T, Cisco, Sprint, TCL, Sony, LG, Ericsson, Samsung, Intel and Vivo who have either pulled out or have scaled back their presence at MWC 2020.
While the health and safety of our employees is our absolute priority, we also recognize that we have a responsibility to the industry and our customers. In view of this, we have taken the necessary time to evaluate a fast-moving situation, engage with the GSMA and other stakeholders, regularly consult external experts and authorities, and plan to manage risks based on a wide range of scenarios. The conclusion of that process is that we believe the prudent decision is to cancel our participation at Mobile World Congress.
— Nokia (@nokia) February 12, 2020
WIRED has published a report which claims that the GSM Association has hit a roadblock as the Spanish government is not ready to declare a health emergency. According to the report, the GSM Association will not be able to claim the insurance if Catalonian authorities do not block the event from happening.
This includes regularly meeting with global and Spanish health experts – as well as our partners – to ensure the wellbeing of attendees.
WIRED also reported that GSMA has to make a decision on Wednesday after an emergency meeting scheduled for 13:00 GMT. However, the body won’t be able to encash its insurance if the government doesn’t declare a health emergency and will end up paying a hefty cancellation fee.
At this point, the future of MWC 2020 is uncertain, to say the least. As more and more companies pull out of the trade show, it might not be worth going through with the event. That said, the trade show is a great source of income for more than 14,000 people and it generated more than €492 million for Barcelona last year.