MWC 2021: Barcelona opens its doors in June

MWC 2021 will be hosted in Barcelona yet again later this summer, and word about the most looked-after conference about smartphones and the mobile industry has already started to trickle in. We intend to keep you abreast with the latest information and developments surrounding MWC in this hb article. So keep checking back for future updates. 

MWC 2021 will be hosted at the end of June
Up to 50,000 visitors are expected
Luminaries like Sony and Nokia have cancelled their participation

We are right smack in the middle of March and in if this were any normal year, MWC would have already been done and dusted with.  However, being the second year of the global pandemic, and since no public events are allowed in Spain right now a decision was already made last year to schedule Mobile World Congress 2021 to fall between June 28 and July 1. The hope was that by then things would be under control. We certainly hope that is the case.

Current indications re that MWC 2021 will include a physical event. But a large segment of the fair will also have a digital component so that a wider global audience could e-attend it..

This year, the MWC will certainly sport a very different feel / © ANDROIDPIT
Strict hygiene protocols expected at MWC 2021

While plans to host MWC 2021 have not changed, one does wonder how the organiser is going to manage up to 50,000 visitors mingling about? There will be strict hygiene protocols in place right from the front door itself before entry is allowed. Expect regular swab tests to be conducted for all who drop by, in addition to making mask-wearing mandatory. There will also be a contact tracing app used in addition to a system that controls visitor flow as part of their crowd management protocols. 

From registration and admission to payment, everything will be contactless without any exception. Behind the scenes, the new ventilation system and crowd control measures intended to provide the highest degree of safety for visitors and exhibitors alike add more confidence to a successful exhibition. Through these measures, we look forward to a semblance of normality throughout the exhibition, although a lot of it also depends on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out over the coming weeks and months.

Sony, Nokia, and Ericsson pulled out

However, no matter how well thought out the safety measures and hygiene protocols are, this doesn’t necessarily mean that manufacturers and visitors will travel to Barcelona just to attend MWC 2021. On the contrary: cancellations have already happened, according to the organising party, GSMA. Both Nokia and Ericsson have pulled out, and these are not names to be scoffed at. Alongside Huawei, these two companies happen to be major network equipment suppliers and can be said to be ‘anchor tenants’ at each edition of MWC. Doing so might set a precedent for other smaller companies who might now mull over the sensibility of appearing on the MWC showfloor when footfall might drop due to the absence of the heavy hitters. 

While the two companies mentioned will be absent and will only participate virtually, Huawei has not made mention of any cancellation. .On the contrary, the China-based company stated that it will definitely participate if MWC takes place.

As CNET reported, Sony also purportedly cancelled their attendance at MWC and would take the digital route instead. It remains to be seen whether the first wave of cancellations will lead to a similar dynamic as last year, or whether MWC will actually happen later this summer. What do you think?