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MWC 2020 cancelled: World's biggest mobile trade show on ice due to coronavirus fears

MWC 2020 cancelled: World's biggest mobile trade show on ice due to coronavirus fears
(Image credit: Getty)

MWC 2020 has been cancelled due to growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. MWC, which stands for Mobile World Conference, is the world’s largest mobile phone trade show. It's been running annually in Barcelona since 2006 and some of the best smartphones are regularly announced there. The cancellation was almost inevitable after numerous exhibitors pulled out from the event, including big hitters like LG, Nokia, and Sony along with AT&T, one of the best cell phone providers in the US.  Ironically, McAfee, one of the best antivirus providers in the world also pulled out of the event in the lead up.

In a statement now published on the MWC website, the event’s organizers, GSMA, stated that “With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak”

MWC is usually a hotbed for new announcements from the major smartphone manufacturers, with last year’s show seeing the reveals for the Huawei Mate X, its flagship folding-screen smartphone. With that said, last year’s show was already missing some of it’s big hitters as Samsung opted to reveal its Galaxy S10 family of phones at its own event, something it has repeated this year with the S20 announcement from a few days ago.

What happens now?

With that said, several big announcements were expected to drop at this year’s MWC. Our colleagues over at T3 had predicted that Sony would unveil its upcoming Xperia 2 flagship smartphone. It’s likely that some companies will take advantage of the reduced competition and prepare their own announcements over the next few weeks though, so we’re not going to be in a complete tech news drought.

The coronavirus, officially called 2019-nCoV, is believed to have originated in the Hubei province of China, where there are now over 31,000 confirmed cases. Whilst China has been working with nations around the globe to prevent the spread of the virus, there are several confirmed cases in numerous countries including the United States, where that number has now reached 13. There have been 1017 casualties from the coronavirus, though these have almost all been within China.

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.