Mobile World Congress called off over coronavirus fears

Mobile World Congress called off over coronavirus fears

The Mobile World Congress (MWC), the annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona, was cancelled on Wednesday after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

Bowing to the inevitable, the GSMA telecoms association that hosts the get-together said it had cancelled the Feb. 24-27 event despite assurances from local and national health officials that it would have been safe to hold it.

The announcement followed a crisis meeting of the GSMA board, after its hand was forced by the pullout of anchor European members including Deutsche Telekom , Vodafone , BT and Nokia .

Spain’s Telefonica, one of the biggest telecom operators not to have announced it was pulling out, said on Wednesday evening it “understands the GSMA’s decision to cancel the Mobile World Congress 2020 due to the situation generated by coronavirus.”

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