GSMA cancels Mobile World Congress 2020 due to coronavirus concerns

One of the largest trade shows for the mobile market has been cancelled due to the impact of the spreading coronavirus.

Today, the GSM Association (GSMA) has officially announced that it has canceled this year’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. MWC is the world’s biggest annual phone show, and while Apple does not directly participate in the event, it is typically the time and place many other smartphone manufacturers make their big announcements for the year.

GSMA CEO John Hoffman (via¬†Bloomberg) says that the coronavirus has made it “impossible” to host the event this year.

With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event.

With deaths exceeding 1,000, and total infections across the globe reaching over 42,000, the coronavirus has become a global health emergency. And ahead of the GSMA officially cancelling the event, many companies were pulling out of attendance. That includes the likes of ZTE, LG, And Ericsson — one of the largest distributors at MWC.

Mobile World Congress 2020 was set to kick off at the end of this month, with the start date set for February 24, and it would run until February 27. And while the organization had set up precautions, and was trying to reassure visitors and exhibitors that things would be okay, the potential for something much worse eventually led to the shutdown.

This is probably the right move, even if it’s going to have a huge economical impact on the area, and the companies associated with the trade show. It’s better to play it safe with something like this.