Ericsson latest firm to withdraw from MWC technology show over coronavirus fears

Ericsson has become the latest tech firm to pull out of the forthcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) show over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

The telecommunications giant said it had made the decision not to appear at the annual event as the “health and safety of employees and customers cannot be ensured”.

MWC is due to take place in Barcelona at the end of this month and is one of the largest events in the industry calendar.

Earlier this week, Korean firm LG revealed it too will not be present at the technology convention.

Ericsson said it appreciated efforts to control the risk by event organiser GSMA, but the large size of its own exhibition space means it “cannot guarantee the health and safety” of attendees.

“The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority,” said Borje Ekholm, president and chief executive of Ericsson.

“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.”

The Swedish firm said it would instead showcase the demos and content planned for MWC in a series of local events.

The 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
MWC, one of the biggest technology shows of the year, takes place in Barcelona (Martyn Landi/PA)

A number of other technology heavyweights, including Sony, Samsung, Huawei and Microsoft, are due to appear at MWC.

Last week, the GSMA told the PA news agency that it was monitoring the outbreak and would put additional medical precautions in place around its venues.

In its most recent statement, organisers said: “The GSMA continues to monitor and assess the potential impact of the coronavirus on MWC Barcelona 2020.

“The GSMA confirms that there remains minimal impact on the event thus far.”

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