Ericsson has pulled out of the world’s biggest mobile phone show in Barcelona later this month, citing as its reason fears over the present coronavirus outbreak.
The Swedish telecommunications firm said that it would not be attending the annual event as the ‘health and safety of employees and customers cannot be ensured.’
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the largest events in the industry calendar and will take place in Barcelona from February 24–27 this year.
The announcement from Ericsson comes just days after the Korean firm LG revealed that it too would be avoiding the tech convention this year.
Ericsson said that it appreciated moves 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, Ericsson president and chief executive.
‘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,’ Mr Ekholm added.
The Swedish firm that said it would instead showcase the demos and content planned for MWC in a series of local events.
A number of other technology heavyweights are due to appear at MWC — including Huawei, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony.
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.
‘The GSMA continues to monitor and assess the potential impact of the coronavirus on MWC Barcelona 2020,’ the organisers said in their most recent statement.
‘The GSMA confirms that there remains minimal impact on the event thus far.’