MWC 2020: BT and Nokia join exodus of companies over coronavirus fears
BT is pulling out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) because of the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest in a string of telecoms firms to say they will not attend the event in Barcelona later this month.
Earlier today, Nokia and and Deutsche Telekom both said they would not be attending MWC, increasing the likelihood that the event could be scrapped.
Telecoms industry body GSMA, which organises MWC, will today hold a virtual board meeting to discuss the conference, Reuters reported, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.
“After careful discussions and planning, BT have decided that we will not attend GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2020,” a spokesperson said.
“We value our participation in important industry groups like GSMA and deeply respect the steps they have already taken to protect attendees,” they added.
“Unfortunately, the most responsible decision is to withdraw our participation from the event to safeguard our employees and customers.”
Companies including Sony, Amazon, Ericsson and LG have all said they will not attend MWC, alongside US chipmaker Nvidia.
In a statement issued on Monday, GSMA insisted that the event would still go ahead.
The group said that no visitors from Hubei province in China, the epicentre of the outbreak, would be allowed to attend, while attendees from China will have to prove they have been out of the country for at least 14 days prior to the conference.
Officials at MWC will also carry out temperature screening on all attendees.