Swedish telecoms manufacturer Ericsson has canceled its trip to MWC, the telecoms trade show which hopes to restart in-person events with a 50,000 person gathering in Barcelona in June.
The show's organizer, the GSMA, has said that MWC Barcelona will take place, following a 25,000 person event in Shanghai in February. Many vendors have said they cautiously plan to be there if vaccination and infection rates are favorable, but Ericsson has pulled out because of the risks of spreading Covid-19.
Barcelona or bust?
"In view of the continuing impacts from Covid-19 and our primary consideration towards our people, their health and well-being, we have decided not to participate in MWC 2021," said an Ericsson statement given to Light Reading. "The decision, whilst regrettable, reflects our precautionary approach to managing the pandemic from a people and travel perspective whilst vaccination programs are rolled out globally."
MWC 2020 was canceled with barely two week's notice in February 2020 as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic became known, after sponsors including Ericsson pulled out. The loss of revenue has resulted in GSMA laying off 20 percent of its workforce, according to Light Reading, so the group is eager to resume running face-to-face events as soon as possible.
The Ericsson announcement came hours after the GSMA announced its Covid-19 safety plans for the planned Barcelona event, which include airport checks on arrival. On-site testing at the site where a negative rapid test, valid for 72-hours, will be required before entry, and contact-tracing will be applied.