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Joining exodus list, now Vodafone pulls out from Mobile World Congress 2020

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Joining a list of big global firms pulling out from the Mobile World Congress, British telecom major Vodafone, a board member of GSM Association, on Wednesday said it will also give a miss to the event this year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Many big and small firms including some of the sponsors have already announced their withdrawal from the world's largest telecom sector event organised by the GSM Association (GSMA) annually in February at Barcelona in Spain.

"Vodafone has been carefully monitoring the on the coronavirus and has noted the recent warning from the World Health Organisation. After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw from this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona," Vodafone said in a statement.

The company said that it will look forward to attending the next Mobile World Congress.

Earlier, Nokia, HMD Global, Tanla Solutions and some other companies had announced their withdrawal from MWC 2020.

"Nokia has taken the decision to withdraw from MWC 2020 after a full assessment of the risks related to a fast-moving situation. Primary focus has been to safeguard the health and well-being of employees and others while also recognizing responsibility to the industry and customers," Nokia said in a statement.

Ericsson has already announced to have pulled out of the event. This withdrawal leaves only Huawei, ZTE and Samsung among top telecom network gear maker firms continuing with their plan to participate in the MWC 2020.

Many leading companies including Cisco, LG, Vivo, NTT Docomo, Sony, Amazon, Facebook, Mediatek, Intel, Nvidia etc have withdrawn their participation from the annual telecom sector event.

"We have made the difficult decision to withdraw from participating in Mobile World Congress scheduled for February 24-27 in Barcelona due to concerns about the current outbreak of Coronavirus," Cisco said in a statement.

BSE listed Tanla Solutions said that the company said that "It's unfortunate that we will miss the networking opportunities at MWC this year but we cannot risk the health of our employees."

GSM Association, organiser of Mobile World Congress, said that the coronavirus issue has created disruption for attendees specially 5,000-6,000 attendees from China. However, the global telecom industry body maintained that the event will continue as per schedule with extra precautions and stringent screening mechanism.

"We are grateful for the preventative measures our Chinese exhibitors have put in place, notably ZTE and Huawei. Today, the GSMA is moving ahead as planned and will host MWC Barcelona 24-27 February 2020. While the GSMA confirms some large exhibitors have decided not to come to the show this year with others still contemplating next steps, we remain more than 2,800 exhibitors strong," GSMA said in reply to an email query on Tuesday.

There have been reports that the board of GSMA is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss the situation.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 12 2020. 21:02 IST