The GSMA, which runs the Mobile World Congress trade shows, has decided not to wait any longer to cancel its main Q4 event.
MWC Los Angeles was scheduled to run 28-30 October, over four months away, but the mobile industry trade association that runs it has concluded the global environment still won’t support major events by then. MWC Barcelona was one of the first event casualties of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown, soon followed by MWC Shanghai.
Today, in light of current government guidance, continued global concern regarding the spread and containment of COVID-19, travel restrictions and other circumstances, and in consultation with our partner, CTIA, the GSMA announced that continuing with MWC Los Angeles 2020 is impossible,” said John Hoffman, GSMA CEO, in a statement.
“While we are disappointed to cancel this event, health and safety remain our top priority, and we will not do anything that could impede or reverse gains made around the world. We are thankful for the medical community, essential workers and those working to eliminate this virus.”
Four months is a long time, but if current faltering attempts to lift the lockdown are anything to go by, things seems likely to remain significantly disrupted for the rest of the year. Hoffman’s point about reversing gains is probably telling as events companies will be very wary of being held liable for any second spikes in the virus. While this decision will cost the GSMA another chunk of revenue, it seems to have calculated that trying to go ahead could end up being far more expensive.