GSMA will conduct a board meeting on Friday to discuss the possible cancellation of the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2020) in Barcelona after several big companies decided to withdraw because of the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported.
MWC 2020, scheduled to take place on February 24-27, is the global telecoms industry’s biggest annual gathering, with companies spending millions on stands and hospitality to fill their order books.
Technology and telecoms companies such as NTT Docomo, Cisco, Sprint, Amdocs, Nvidia, Ericsson, LG, Sony, Intel, Facebook, among others, have already decided to pull out.
The four-day international telecoms conference draws in more than 100,000 visitors to Spain.
The congress usually gives a $500 million lift to the local economy as delegates throng to the Fira trade fairgrounds, wine and dine contacts and criss-cross Barcelona by taxi.
GSMA, which represents 750 operators and another 350 firms in the mobile industry ranging from Germanys Deutsche Telekom to China’s Huawei, hosts the congress.
Its board is composed of 26 leaders of some of the world’s biggest telecoms groups and is currently chaired by Stephane Richard, the CEO of Orange, France’s biggest phone company.
In the event of a full cancellation of the event, the financial liability for the organizers may depend on whether the Spanish government changes its health advice on the coronavirus.
Spain’s health minister Salvador Illa told reporters on Tuesday that there is no public health reason for the event not to be carried out.
Salvador Illa said that additional health measures related to the MWC could be announced on Wednesday.