Qualcomm is the latest major company to withdraw from this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in-person exhibitions. The chipmaker has confirmed that it will only participate in the event virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic concerns.
“While we appreciate the health and safety measures being put into place by the GSMA for MWC Barcelona, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and customers for Qualcomm’s participation to be virtual this year,” Qualcomm said in a statement to TechCrunch.
However, despite skipping the in-person exhibitions, the company plans to make some announcements and virtually demonstrate its latest 5G advancements at the upcoming tech show in Barcelona. “We look forward to engaging with the ecosystem through Cristiano Amon’s virtual keynote on June 28th and through our latest announcements and 5G demonstrations,” the official statement read. MWC 2021 will begin on June 28 and end on July 1.
Qualcomm to skip in-person MWC 2021 as well
Qualcomm isn’t the first company to withdraw from the MWC 2021 in-person exhibitions. Samsung and Lenovo confirmed their withdrawal earlier this week, with both opting to participate in the event virtually. Google, Nokia, Ericsson, Sony, and Oracle, meanwhile, have decided to completely pull out of the show this year. The reason, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic.
MWC Barcelona usually takes place at the end of February. However, the still-ongoing global health crisis has pushed back this year’s edition to June. The event’s organizing body GSMA is promising strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is requiring all attendees to have had a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their arrival. The organizing body is also promising measures to control crowd density at the event.
However, quite clearly, many big companies believe these measures will not be enough to prevent the risks of the conference being a potential COVID-19 hotspot. Over the past couple of months, several big names have withdrawn from the event one after the other. Many others will likely announce similar steps in the coming weeks considering how rapidly the second wave of the coronavirus is spreading across the world.
To recall, MWC 2020 was canceled last year because of the pandemic. GSMA’s hybrid approach this year means the 2021 edition of the conference may go on. However, there’s an increasing chance that it would be virtual-only. With around six weeks to go for the event, we might see some sort of announcement from the organizers soon.