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Uncertainty over Mobile World Congress as Facebook also pulls out from in-person edition

Sony, Nokia and Ericsson have already said that they won’t be attending Barcelona MWC 2021 next summer due to concerns over Covid-19


12 March 2021 03:00 PM


Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

Facebook has followed a string of tech firms in pulling out from the upcoming edition of the Mobile World Congress, due to be held in person next summer in Barcelona.

The move, which has come after Sony, Nokia, and Ericsson also canceled their in-person attendance over concerns about the pandemic, has cast doubt on whether the MWC fair will be canceled for a second year straight.

The British multinational BT announced on Friday it was also pulling out from the in-person event.

“After careful consideration, BT has decided that we will play an active role in the virtual elements of GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2021, but will not send delegates to the event in person this year,” read BT's statement.

Earlier this week, the organizer, GSMA, said the fair would go ahead and predicted an attendance of between 45,000 to 50,000 people, around half of what was normal before the pandemic.

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."

The 2020 precedent

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.


  • Mark Zuckerberg attends the 2016 edition of the Mobil World Congress (by ACN)

  • Mark Zuckerberg attends the 2016 edition of the Mobil World Congress (by ACN)