Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, which was going to be held in Barcelona later this month, has been cancelled due to concerns over coronavirus. The GSM Association (GSMA) cited the safety and health concerns, travel concerns and other circumstances for the cancellation of MWC Barcelona 2020. Major players like Intel, LG, Vivo, Nvidia, Nokia, HMD Global, and Sony had already backed out of the event for the same reason.
While MWC is quiet popular among the mobile technology enthusiasts for obvious reasons, its cancellation had made it a part of conversation even among non-techies. So, if you are feeling a little left out because of your ignorance about the MWC, here’s a quick primer on the world’s biggest mobile tech fair.
The first MWC, or ‘Pan Europe Digital Cellular Radio’, as it was referred to back then, was organised in 1987 in Brussels, Belgium. From 1996 to 2005, the event was held in Cannes and in 2006, it was moved to Barcelona and has stayed there ever since. After several name iterations, ‘Mobile World Congress’ was decided upon in 2008, however, the phone show is now officially referred to as MWC Barcelona, at least until 2023 when the deal to host MWC in Barcelona expires.
MWC is the biggest trade show for the mobile communications industry where device manufacturers unveil their new products, prototypes, and ideas that they have been working on. Not just the mobile industry, wireless carriers, network equipment providers, and the press are the annual attendees of the event. On average, about 100,000 people attend the event every year. Most of the MWC events take place at Fira Gran Via, and select others are hosted at Fira Montjuïc.
According to a report by El Pais, MWC generates around 14,000 temporary jobs in Barcelona and makes EUR 492 million (roughly Rs. 3,884 crores) for the city.
Most of the major manufacturers in the mobile communications industry use MWC as a platform to make their major announcements. Last year, Huawei showed off its Mate X foldable smartphone while Nokia unveiled its Nokia 9 PureView, a phone with a five lens camera setup on the back. Lenovo showed off ThinkPad X1 ANC and Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones. This year, the likes of HMD Global, Huawei, Realme, Sony, Vivo, and Xiaomi were planning to unveil new devices.