Feb 5, 2020 - Technology

ZTE, LG drop conference plans over coronavirus concerns

The LG pavilion during the Mobile World Congress in 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Two major telecom players — Korea's LG and China's ZTE — are scaling back their presence at the upcoming Mobile World Congress out of concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: Mobile World Congress, held at the end of February in Barcelona, is the key trade show for the cell phone industry, and its selling point is the way it brings a very global industry together in one place.

What they're saying:

  • LG said Tuesday that "with the safety of its employees, partners and customers foremost in mind," it decided not to exhibit or participate in the conference. "This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders."
  • ZTE said it canceled a press conference planned for Mobile World Congress in part due to visa and other issues and, also out of caution. "[We] tend to be an overly courteous company, and simply don't want to make people uncomfortable," a representative told The Verge.
  • In a statement Tuesday, GSMA, the trade group that puts on Mobile World Congress, said it is "continuing to monitor and assess the potential impact of the coronavirus," and announced several new health precautions, but said so far there has been "minimal impact."

Meanwhile, Huawei postponed a developer conference in China, but has thus far said it continues to plan to attend and exhibit in Barcelona.

Go deeper: What's happening with the coronavirus

Go deeper

Cisco, Facebook and Intel also pull out of Mobile World Congress

Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images

More large companies are skipping Mobile World Congress amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Among the latest to pull out are AT&T, BT, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Intel, Nokia and Vodafone, who join Ericsson, Sony and LG among large companies pulling out of the annual Barcelona trade show.

Why it matters: MWC is the traditional gathering place of mobile companies from all over the world — and that's the concern.

Ericsson pulls out of Mobile World Congress amid virus concerns

Ericsson

In the latest blow to the upcoming Mobile World Congress, Ericsson said Friday it is pulling out of the trade show amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Korean phone maker LG already pulled out and China's ZTE cancelled a press conference, raising the question of whether others will cancel plans.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 8, 2020 - Technology

Mobile World Congress canceled amid Coronavirus concerns

Photo: Matthias Oesterle/Corbis via Getty Images

The organizers of the giant Mobile World Congress said Wednesday that they are canceling the event, which was set to take place at the end of the month, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many key participants in recent days said they would not be attending.

Why it matters: The Barcelona event is the major trade show for the wireless business and a key gathering point for an industry that is spread all over the globe.