However, the event began to spiral towards cancellation last week when the first of a torrent of exhibitors pulled out of the event.
"Key members of the CCS Insight team have been attending this event for over 20 years and it's the highlight of the mobile industry calendar". GSMA CEO John Hoffman said in a statement, below, that the deadly coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 1,100 people and sickened 45,000, made it "impossible" to stage the event.
The GSMA said host cities and partners respected and understood their decision, adding that they "will continue to work in unison, quot; to organize next year's event".More news: BBC Studios Making TV Series With Greta Thunberg
Earlier Wednesday, Nokia said it had chose to withdraw "after a full assessment of the risks related to a fast-moving situation".
Initially, the GSMA remained committed to hosting the annual tech show, despite the cancellations. These four companies are arguably the backbone of MWC and a decision on their part to pull out would be catastrophic. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Shanghai, and Los Angeles, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences. However, smartphone enthusiasts will not be seeing any new devices, at least not at the scheduled February 24th and the 27th date. These embrace Vodafone, Cisco, LG, Vivo, NTT DoCoMo, Sony, Amazon, Facebook, MediaTek and Intel amongst others.
"Major companies and many attendees will be reviewing the importance of MWC to their business and the GSMA must work hard to have a clear path forward".More news: NASA's Solar Orbiter is on its way to observe the Sun's poles
The congress takes up two main fair venues in the port city, and the 2019 edition hosted 107,000 people from some 200 countries while generating an economic impact of 473 million euros ($513 million), according to the Catalan regional government. Apple doesn't participate, but many other major brands make announcements at MWC.
But he said that large gatherings of people with many worldwide guests posed a particular risk: "To take this risk would be irresponsible".
"Ordinarily, I would not expect USA -based tech events to be affected, but we don't know when the coronavirus will be fully contained", he said.More news: Afghan President Ghani cites ‘notable progress’ in US-Taliban talks