Mobile World Congress was very optimistic in February when it announced an in-person event taking place in June. As we near MWC 2021’s launch, however, it’s looking less and less like a great idea. So much so that several big names have dropped out of the event this week. The newest of these is Qualcomm, which has just opted to go digital-only for 2021.
How much more can MWC 2021 take?
Qualcomm joins Samsung and Lenovo in choosing to exhibit only digitally for the 28 June to 1 July event being held in Barcelona, saying (to website TechCrunch), “While we appreciate the health and safety measures being put into place by the GSMA for MWC Barcelona, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and customers for Qualcomm’s participation to be virtual this year.”
But at least MWC has Samsung, Qualcomm and Lenovo sticking around, even if it’s just virtually. The initial bunch of companies to confirm their non-attendance are giving the event a skip entirely. Sony, Nokia, Google, Oracle and others won’t be attending in any capacity.
The GSMA hasn’t made any indications in this direction as of yet but this year’s in-person event may be in jeopardy. MWC Shanghai went ahead in February but the main outing in Spain is seeing a similar pattern of drop-outs this year to the one that led to Mobile World Congress eventually being cancelled in 2020. It’s even possible we might see a similar situation for IFA, set to kick off in-person in Berlin, Germany in September this year.