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Outside the pavilion of the cancelled Mobile World Congress event in 2020. Photo: Europa Press/Getty

MWC Barcelona 2021, world’s biggest mobile trade show, pushed back to June

  • World’s biggest mobile industry gathering has been postponed to give organisers more time to plan amid pandemic

Next year’s edition of MWC Barcelona, the world’s biggest mobile industry gathering, has been postponed to late June from March in 2021, according to organiser GSMA, as Covid-19 continues to affect countries around the world.

The world’s biggest mobile industry gathering was cancelled in February this year as the pandemic first began to spread. The GSMA represents the interests of more than 750 mobile network operators around the world.
Re-scheduling the event “allows the GSMA to contend with external circumstances related to Covid-19”, and make sure it goes ahead safely at a later date, the trade body said in a statement on Wednesday.

“MWC21 Barcelona will also have virtual elements [when it takes place] to complement the overwhelming demand to convene physically,” the company added.

MWC Barcelona 2020 was cancelled less than two weeks before its opening despite earlier assurances from the GSMA that the event would go ahead. It was a big blow to efforts by telecoms carriers, device makers and various tech providers to further promote 5G technology amid new network roll-outs this year.

Chinese smartphone giants have been big participants at MWC in recent years. Before the event cancellation in February, Huawei Technologies, Oppo, Xiaomi Corp and ZTE Corp, were all due to attend, albeit with a smaller contingent.
In 2019, Huawei stole the show with the introduction of its foldable 5G phone, the Mate X. Xiaomi, Oppo, ZTE all introduced their latest system or flagship phones at the 2019 event.
Regional editions of the 2020 show in Shanghai and Los Angeles, were also cancelled respectively in April and June due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.