Facebook and Oracle have announced that they are cancelling their participation in the Mobile World Congress 2021 to be held this summer in Barcelona. They join Ericsson and Nokia on 9 and 10 March respectively.
After the cancellation in 2020 due to the health situation resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the event was postponed to the middle of the year: from 28 June to 1 July.
According to a statement, Facebook announced last year that it will not attend any in-person events until June 2021. According to the policy, they will not have a physical presence at this year’s Mobile World Congress. They are open to participating virtually.
As was the case last year, cancellations of in-person attendance by brands at Mobile World Congress are being made in dribs and drabs, as some companies wait for others to announce their withdrawal. In fact, in 2020 Nokia and Ericsson were also the first to announce that they would not be attending. Days later, Vodafone, BT, Intel, AT&T, Nvidia and Sony joined them.
This time history seems to be repeating itself and we are likely to see more companies withdrawing their participation – at least physically – in the event.
For the time being, the GSMA, the association in charge of organising the MWC, assures that it will go ahead and hold the event. After the first cancellations, they explained in a statement that “our experience gives us a rock-solid foundation from which we have built our plan”.
If the event is held, no more than 50,000 people will be able to attend, which in this day and age sounds totally outlandish or even dangerous. The organisers assure that they will comply with all the necessary measures. A negative PCR must be available for a maximum of 72 hours before entering the fairgrounds.
The test will have to be repeated every 72 hours to confirm that no contagions are reproduced inside the MWC. In addition, the entrances to the exhibition centre would be different from the exits and would guarantee medical and temperature controls during the days of the event.