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Mobile World Congress anticipate up to 50,000 visitors while Ericsson pulls out

Technology fair will require negative PCR test before entry, with rapid tests available on-site


09 March 2021 11:02 AM


Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

Organisers of the Mobile World Congress anticipate that between 45,000-50,000 attendees will be able to visit the congress in person this year, around half of the usual number of visitors.

The trade show will also require visitors to present a negative PCR test performed no longer than 72 hours prior to the fair. This year’s Mobile World Congress is scheduled to take place between June 28 to July 1.

The fair will have three Covid-19 rapid test points at the entrances of the Fira de Barcelona, the congress hall where the event is held. Additionally, 13,000 hand gel dispensers will be installed in the facility. 

Organising company GSMA say the fair is "moving forward at full speed", although with a commitment to adapt to "any change."

However, Barcelona’s biggest mobile technology trade shows was dealt a blow a Tuesday with the announcement from Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson pulling out of participating due to the pandemic. 

The company has alleged safety concerns in the face of the “continued impacts of Covid-19” and concern for the health and well-being of attendees and workers.

“While we regret it, the decision reflects our preventative approach to managing the pandemic from a people-based perspective, while global vaccination programs are being pursued,” the company explained. The Swedish multinational is the first to pull their participation after the GSMA announced security plans for the event on Monday.

On Wednesday, March 10, Nokia and Sony cancelled their in-person participation at the mobile technology trade fair.

The moves open the door to other companies potentially following suit, as happened last year. In early February 2020, LG announced that it was suspending its participation, and days later Ericsson joined, quickly followed by the cancellations of companies such as Nvidia, Amazon, Sony, Facebook, Cisco, and Vodafone, before the entire fair was called off.


  • Visitors at the entrance to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2019 (by Laura Pous)

  • Visitors at the entrance to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2019 (by Laura Pous)