GSMA delays Mobile World Congress to late June 2021

GSMA delays Mobile World Congress to late June 2021

BARCELONA/BERLIN (Reuters) – The organisers of the Mobile World Congress, the telecoms market’s biggest yearly event, stated on Wednesday they were postponing next year’s event to late June to make it possible to assemble safely despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE IMAGE: Staff members go by Fira de Barcelona after the Mobile World Congress (MWC) was cancelled in Barcelona, Spain February 13,2020 REUTERS/Nacho Doce

MWC 2021, originally scheduled for early March, will now be kept in Barcelona, Spain, from June 28 to July 1. This year’s congress was cancelled at the last minute as the infection spread out around the world.

The event, which integrates a flashy trade show with a craze of executive networking, will be face to deal with but presence will be down from the 110,000 who typically assemble in the Catalan capital as winter relies on spring.

” It’s going to be physical. It’s going to be face to deal with. It’s going to have a bigger virtual component,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA, the market association that hosts the congress.

” Having 110,000- plus events is less intriguing – getting the right people is more interesting,” he told Reuters in an interview.

The congress has previously given a $500 million lift to the local economy – an increase sorely needed as rates of infection skyrocket. The blow to take a trip and tourist from the pandemic has actually been ravaging, with only three in 10 hotels now open in Barcelona.

MOMENTUM, INTEREST

The GSMA, which counts 750 operators and 400 more business in the wider market as members, scratched this year’s event after an exodus by exhibitors. Travel, car and innovation shows quickly followed, forcing organisers to adjust to online formats.

In spite of initial criticism, the lobby group assuaged its critics by providing refunds and credits towards future programs. It has actually committed to keeping the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a minimum of until 2024.

Seventy-eight of the top-100 exhibitors had actually already registered for next year, the GSMA’s Granryd stated, a number that could reach the eighties after the occasion got pressed back to the Mediterranean summertime.

The hold-up seeks to buy time to strengthen health measures around a “touchless” occasion that, in one social distancing feature, will replace tickets with admission utilizing facial recognition technology.

Granryd revealed hope that, by next summer season, it will be possible for delegates to take quick COVID-19 tests at their hotel before heading to the event. He also revealed confidence that telecoms employers would have access to vaccines, now under development, once they appear.

The GSMA said it would likewise move up the Chinese edition of next year’s Mobile World Congress, kept in Shanghai, to Feb. 23-25 in what total up to a calendar swap with the main event in Barcelona.

Additional reporting by Inti Landauro; Writing by Douglas Busvine; modifying by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan and Tomasz Janowski

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