The GSMA claims to be committed to ensuring that the event in Barcelona can take place safely
GSMA CEO John Hoffman announced this Wednesday that the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will be postponed from the first week of March to the end of June 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis, at a press conference in Barcelona.
The MWC will take place from 28 June to 1 July at Fira de Barcelona, while the MWC21 will also be rescheduled in Shanghai from 23 to 25 February 2021, when it was traditionally held in the summer.
Hoffman, who flew to Barcelona this Wednesday, explained that this is a reorganisation that will not be repeated and that in 2022 the Barcelona MWC will return to February and Shanghai to the summer, and that the main reason is to guarantee greater attendance.
He also stressed that the Barcelona congress will continue to be "bigger" than Shanghai despite the postponement, which has been justified because there will be a more stable situation with the pandemic.
"Barcelona is our flagship of the MWC and we wanted to guarantee the maximum number of attendees", justified the GSMA CEO.
Asked if the worst coronavirus situation in Spain and Europe with respect to China had influenced the decision, Hoffman responded that postponing the date "would give more time to the vaccine" and that in the Asian country events are already beginning to be held with thousands of people, so it was an opportunity to reserve the date.
At the moment, the congress in Barcelona has 78% of the exhibitors reserved and is expected to reach 83% or 85%, which would be the equivalent of some 700 companies.
Hoffman has assured that the date will not be changed again and that in this way "Barcelona will hold two MWC in less than eight months.
Support from the administrations
Asked why he did not appear accompanied by representatives of the administrations involved in the event, Hoffman said that the "alignment was total" after communicating the decision, and stressed that he had met with representatives of almost all these institutions.
"Everyone has shown their support," said Hoffman, who reiterated the GSMA's desire to make the 2021 congress the best MWC in history.
The GSMA says it is committed to ensuring that MWC21 Barcelona can be held safely and will introduce telematic calls to meet the demand for attendees.
Fira de Barcelona: positive about the postponement
The Managing Director of Fira de Barcelona, Constantí Serrallonga, has positively assessed the postponement of the MWC because "it guarantees more attendance and greater success for the event".
In declarations to journalists after the press conference held this Wednesday by the GSMA's CEO, John Hoffman, Serrallonga explained that this is a "joint decision" between the GSMA and Fira, which, according to him, will allow the congress to be held with fewer limitations due to the pandemic.
"Much progress has already been made in controlling the pandemic. In May we will make even more progress and international travel will be easier", he said, adding that the Fira is already moving the most international events to the second half of 2021 to ensure greater attendance.
He gave as an example, in addition to the MWC, the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) congress, which was to hold its first edition in the Catalan capital in February and has also been moved to June.
Serrallonga explained that from the reopening of the Fira until the first half of 2021, events of a more local nature will be held, such as the BizBarcelona that is taking place these days, which will allow "the light to be seen at the end of the tunnel".