On Wednesday, a slew of further names confirmed they would not attend, including BT, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Finnish telecoms company Nokia and France's Orange, even though its chief executive Stéphane Richard is chairman of the GSMA. The GSMA and the host city partners will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions.
The affiliation mentioned, "Our sympathies are with those affected by the Corona virus at the moment in China and around the world". The annual Mobile World Congress will no longer be held as planned in Barcelona, Spain, on February 24-27.
Since last week, no fewer than five major companies have pulled out of the event for the same reason.
The news was announced today by Spanish press after the GSMA held a meeting today to decide the issue.
Organizers were caught between risking potential backlash over public health concerns if they went ahead or facing big financial losses if they canceled, said Stephen Mears, a research analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "MWC is an anchor event for many and now they face the challenge of having to figure out the best way to salvage something from this hard situation".
Because the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, GSMA initially mentioned it might ban all vacationers from the Chinese Hubei province, require guests from China to show that they had not been in China for a minimum of 14 days, and display screen attendees for fevers.
The show was expected to have an economic impact of more than $530 million on Barcelona, according to the organizing body.
Hoffman continued, "The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision".
Out of hundreds of people in the audience, about a dozen people wore the masks, he said.
The cancellation of the MWC 2020 event comes as a huge blow to the mobile industry. It is coronavirus fear at its strongest.