Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2020, the largest wireless trade show in the world, is cancelled thanks to the coronavirus. This has been building in recent weeks when company after company has said they will not attend. Now it’s official. The show is off!
This is a real fear and I think it was smart to cancel MWC20. This won’t be the last show to be cancelled either. Expect many more now that the precedent has been set.
CES2020 in early January was not cancelled because the coronavirus had not become a global threat on every headline and newscast, globally. If CES 2020 was to go on in the next few weeks or months, I think they would cancel as well.
That’s right, this coronavirus is only a few weeks old on the public stage.
Every industry has its own trade shows and I think every one of them will be impacted, at least for the rest of this year. Potentially for the next several years.
This will have an impact on every industry, globally. However, there is no other alternative.
It will take at least a year for any kind of vaccine can be developed. In fact, I have heard the coronavirus may grow, then crest, then decrease before a vaccine is even developed and rolled out.
The thing is, no one knows. It’s all one big unknown. And no one wants to be infected. No trade show is worth it.
Briefings and meetings will take place over the phone rather than at MWC20
Going forward, I will most likely take many of the briefings and meetings from companies and key executives that want to meet with me, but this time they will be over the phone.
That’s easy for me as a wireless industry analyst. However, most people don’t have a column and find it necessary to mix and mingle at the show. They introduce their companies or themselves to other companies or other key industry players.
These shows are key to industry growth. So, what impact will now MWC2020 have on the wireless industry in 2020? Good question. We have never been in this position before.
That means all we can do is guess. And your guess is as good as mine.
Trade shows are key to industry growth and cancellations will have an impact
Wireless is a solid and growing industry. 5G is just starting and will be a revolution over the next decade. There are many companies who are in the 5G upgrade business. These will miss the lost opportunities the most.
Companies like Qualcomm, Huawei, Ericsson, Intel and others who are on the network side of the equation. Then there are smartphone, tablet and other device makers like Apple, Google, Android, Samsung and others. Then there are carriers like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and more globally. Then there are many companies who help carriers grow like Synchronoss.
Companies will get creative and meet with others in new, safe ways
So, the bad news is these opportunities to show off and meet others from other companies is off at MWC20. The good news is these people and companies still want to meet. So, I think there will be plenty of opportunities to do just that.
After all, I am meeting with many companies over the phone to start with rather than going to the show. So, there are countless other opportunities to meet.
So, it’s time to start getting creative. The wireless industry will continue to grow. 5G will continue to grow.
The coronavirus may slow things down a bit for some companies in some areas, but the industry itself will continue to move forward, to build and to grow. Every industry will. New ideas will be tried then copied in other industries.
Let’s hope this coronavirus is under control next year and we can all meet in Barcelona once again. And lets also pray for all those who have been stricken by this illness.