Amazon, Nvidia & Ericsson the latest firms to pull out of MWC 2020 over coronavirus fears

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Last week LG announced that it would not be attending Mobile World Congress later this month over potential fears regarding the novel coronavirus epidemic. Organisers for the event tried to allay concerns and confirmed that they would be stepping up precautionary measures, but that has not stopped a number of firms pulling out of MWC 2020 in recent days.

LG are now joined by the likes of Nvidia, Amazon and Ericsson, with the latter firms being rather major exhibitors at past events. In fact Ericsson was likely aiming to unpack many of its 5G plans at MWC 2020, but now those presentations will have to be put on hold.

“Following the outbreak and continued spreading of the novel corona virus, Ericsson has closely monitored the development and adhered to recommendations from relevant national authorities and international bodies, such as the WHO,” the firm explained in a statement.

“After an extensive internal risk assessment, Ericsson has decided to take further precautionary measures by withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020, the largest event in the telecom industry,” it added.

That last part illustrates just how seriously Ericsson is taking the coronavirus, especially given the size and scope of an event like MWC 2020.

Amazon expressed similar concerns regarding its withdrawal from the event. “Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about the new coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020,” it stated.

Some other firms are also looking to scale back their presence at MWC 2020, such as Samsung, but have not pulled out of the event entirely at this stage.

Either way this is less than good news for those hoping to see what the consumer and enterprise side of telecommunications had planned for the upcoming year.

At the time of writing there has been no public discussions to cancel the event entirely, with GSMA providing another update on the subject over the weekend.

“The GSMA knows that the Coronavirus has created disruption, in particular for exhibitors and attendees from around the world, including the 5-6,000 (5-6%) who have historically attended from China,” the organisation noted in a statement.

“The GSMA strongly urges exhibitors and attendees to implement appropriate guidelines and protocols as suggested by the WHO and other health authorities to contain and mitigate against any further spread of the virus. The health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees and staff are of paramount importance,” it concluded.

Should more big profile firms follow the lead of Amazon, LG, Nvidia and Ericsson, MWC 2020 may very well be called off. For now though it’s still on, but we’ll be closely monitoring the situation if it changes.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.