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COVID-19 : The Mobile World Congress 2021 will be held in person and virtually

Back in February of this year, the situation was somewhat different from today. A month after starting the historic confinement that we can live again, Spain and the West in general began to look with concern at China and what was happening with the Coronavirus, which was not yet a pandemic. Concern that extended to sectors such as Electronics and events such as the Mobile World Congress 2020.

Mobile World Congress

The idea of ​​canceling an event of such magnitude due to a health crisis in Asia was something crazy in the minds of many, but the seriousness of the situation and the high contagion capacity of COVID-19 caused rumors to begin to emerge, the information ‘sotto vocce’. Nobody wanted to go and get infected, and the GSMA assured that they had “implemented additional health measures for MWC 2020 and we will continue to seek medical advice from experts on a frequent basis”, but nothing to cancel it.

And then the exodus of participating companies began, an exodus that when it started to include (or suggest) names like Nokia, NTT Docomo, LG, Sony, Orange, Telefónica, Vodafone or BT, made the board behind the Mobile World Congress meet in an emergency and make a historic decision: Cancel MWC 2020, which made it one of the first major world events to be canceled by a coronavirus that in Europe we saw distant and as something that would not reach our borders. And if it came, it was just like getting the flu …

The MWC 2021 and the Coronavirus

In the current age, when we look concerned at the sprouts that arise, the only truth is that we wish all this would have happened in 2021, but we cannot swear to it. In fact, the WHO speaks of mid-2021 as the date for the COVID-19 vaccine, so events such as next year’s edition of the Mobile World Congress are still up in the air. But this has not prevented the GSMA from confirming to the TechRadar website that plans for MWC 2021 are still underway.

According to a representative of the body that manages the event, “We are working to ensure that MWC 2021 is an essential event. We are constantly monitoring the situation closely, as we did with MWC 2020. This includes seeking expert advice on health and safety. The situation is complex and new. We are learning all the time and working with Fira and our partners to take all measures to ensure a safe environment and an inspiring experience”.

What we know about Mobile World Congress of 2021 is scheduled for March 1, and seeks to be a face-to-face event, although the GSMA is already planning host some elements of the show virtually, “Especially for those who will not be able to travel to Barcelona even if the event takes place”. With travel restrictions in place for most countries in the world, these may continue until 2021 and restrict those who can attend next year’s show.

Therefore, for those who cannot attend, certain events will be virtual, online and non-face-to-face also: “For those who cannot travel at that time, we are working on making some elements available virtually,” according to the GSMA, although “MWC 20 taught us to be flexible and to adapt quickly to urgent information.”

And it is that other events such as CES 2021, the world technology fair that is held in Las Vegas as soon as the month of January begins, which in principle was going to be face-to-face, has already confirmed that it will only be online. And MWC 21 will start just 7 weeks later.