The novel coronavirus — which is now known as Covid-19 — has already forced huge companies like Sony, Amazon, Intel, LG, and Nvidia to drop out of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC). Most recently, Nokia stated it won’t be attending this year either. Now conflicting reports are revealing that the GSMA, which organizes the show, may be attempting to cancel its own event.
The standstill is a money problem — If it weren’t for the massive amounts of money that have gone into planning MWC, the conference may have already been canceled. If the GSMA cancels the event of its own accord, it will lose all that money. Many believe the GSMA is instead lobbying for Spain to declare a state of emergency — which would automatically cancel the event and potentially return much of the GSMA’s investment.
Too early to make a call — The GSMA had an emergency meeting scheduled for 13:00 GMT to discuss whether or not to cancel the event, and it says it’s monitoring the Covid-19 situation to ensure the environment would be a healthy one for conference-goers. Some sources tell WIRED that the GSMA does want to cancel the event after so many companies have dropped out. Meanwhile, Spanish news outlet La Vanguardia reported today that the GSMA has decided to keep the event on.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on this as it develops. As to whether or not MWC will happen this year: your guess is as good as ours.