Coronavirus concern makes Ericsson pull out of the Mobile World Congress


Many have thwarted personal travel plans and business trips, while others have taken precautions and refuse to stop their lives for the global health concern of the Coronavirus. Ericsson, a mobile telecom service based in Sweden, has announced that it will join LGE and ZTE as the third contributor who will be pulling out of the Mobile World Congress.

“LG Electronics is closely monitoring the situation related to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was recently declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation, as the virus continues to spread outside China,” the company said in a statement. At the same time, ZTE has cited A that it’s pulling out due to secondary effects of the virus outbreak, as well as issues with travel and visa delays.

MWC is the largest telecom event representing global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors, and content owners. It’s set to be held in Barcelona from February 24 to the 27th. Due to concerns for the wellbeing of its employees and after an internal assessment, Ericsson informed GSMA, who runs the event, that it will withdraw from the showcase.

The Show Must Go On

With an economic impact of over 492 million Euros, this industry trade body, GSMA, represents over 1200 tech and telecom companies around the world. This event alone will create over 14,000 part-time jobs. A recent statement made by a GSMA spokesman said, “There is minimal impact on the event thus far.” However, a look back at previous press releases and comments have shown that this seems to be the go-to response whenever anything gets tricky.

The one guest everyone seems sure to make an appearance is the Coronavirus. Due to incubation periods and the fact that no signs have been shown of the virus slowing down, it’s impossible to be sure if a large gathering of the most significant and most innovative companies in the world could evade such a force. 

Keeping it Clean

A central place to gather for the mobile ecosystem, MWC Barcelona, has stated that they will move forward with the planned event, and will increase sanitation efforts. Some of the fundamental changes being made are a new, “change of microphone policy,” as well as a “no-handshake policy.

While the efforts are merited, and Ericsson stated that it does appreciate them, being one of the largest exhibitors with thousands of visitors, this is no way that they can guarantee the safety of their employees or their visitor, and that is not a risk worth taking. 

Börje Ekholm, President, and CEO, Ericsson, says: “The health and safety of our employees, customers, and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona. It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event.”

So what will Ericson do with all the presentations and information prepared for MWC 2020? They have decided to showcase their innovations locally

This was the year that the Chinese market was supposed to be the biggest showcase of their products and tech yet. Now with telecom and tech giants pulling out, there are concerns that this year’s event won’t have the same growth and community potential as before.

The Coronavirus, while a popular meme joke in the USA, has killed over 400 people, and thousands are infected with new cases arising every day. According to Digital Trends, some companies, such as Uber, have taken precautions and even temporarily shutting down services or offices to reduce the potential of spreading the virus further into more vulnerable communities. 

GSMA made an official statement and provided links back to the WHO, urging its exhibitors and attendees to follow the guidelines set in place by the WHO to help contain and fight against the spread of the virus. 

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