Things are continuing to look grim for the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2021 as Google became the latest big name in tech to announce that it would not be exhibiting at the event. Apart from Google, others like Sony, Nokia, Oracle and Ericsson have also decided not to attend the event in-person.
This year’s MWC is scheduled to run between 28th June to 1st July. Although the vaccine situation is improving, the current potential of the event to serve as a super-spreader of Covid-19 is far too great to ignore. In 2020, the GSMA which organizes this flagship event, waited till the last possible moment to announce its cancellation.
It looks like we will have to settle for a virtual MWC this time, just like the CES 2021 which took place in January. Although the GSMA had said in February that it would stick to an in-person event, it might be forced to reconsider this stance.
“We will continue to collaborate closely with GSMA and support our partners through virtual opportunities. We look forward to this year’s activities and seeing you in Barcelona in 2022,” Google told The Verge.
Other popular names in tech have not yet revealed any plans to ditch the exhibition. But it was the same case last year too — big brands like LG Electronics, Nvidia, Intel, Facebook, Amazon and Vivo started pulling out one after the other.
At any rate, the precautions that the GSMA are planning to enforce such as mask-wearing and a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, are expected to be insufficient to ensure the virus does not spread easily.
The MWC usually draws in around 1,00,000 attendees. Even if the event is scaled back by around 50%, it can still pose too much of a risk to those present.