Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest telecoms conference, has been pushed back further to late June next year.
Organisers GSMA said the event, which usually attracts more than 100,000 professionals, will be postponed to make it possible to gather safely.
MWC 2021 was originally scheduled for early March in Barcelona. It will now be held between 28 June and 1 July, after MWC 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic earlier this year.
The March 2020 edition was plagued by a thread of technology giants such as Amazon, Huawei and Ericsson pulling out of the conference as its date drew near, prompting requests for refunds from ticket-holders.
GSMA said it expects to have fewer attendees at the 2021 event.
“It’s going to be physical. It’s going to be face to face. But it’s going to have a bigger virtual component,” said Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA.
“Having 110,000-plus events is less interesting — getting the right people is more interesting.”
Granryd said the delay will allow GSMA more time to work on safety precautions surrounding hygiene, travel and social distancing.
He added that, by next summer, GSMA hopes quick coronavirus tests and vaccines will be available to help keep attendees safe.
The Chinese edition of MWC, held in Shanghai, will be brought forward to late February in a swap with the Barcelona event.
Granryd said in a written statement: “With a continuously changing global outlook and following consultation with our board and membership and our top exhibitors, we have taken the careful decision to reschedule MWC21 Shanghai in February, and MWC21 Barcelona in June.
‘The health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees, staff and the people of Barcelona are of paramount importance.”