There is no other will than to celebrate the Mobile World Congress between February 28 and March 3 in Barcelona. That is the main message that emerges from an open letter that John Hoffmann, CEO of GSMA has published today on the website of the mobile phone association, responsible for organizing the event. In it, the organization shows an “unwavering” will to maintain this year’s edition of the show and warns that “it would only consider a change in its plans under the decision of the Spanish authorities.” From Fira de Barcelona, whose facilities have hosted the event since 2006, they assure that they work with total normality in their organization, in the same way as they do with the organizers of the ISE (Integrated Systrems Europe), which will open doors on February 1.
Hoffman’s message arrives in what experts already consider, at least in Spain, the doors of the peak of the sixth wave of infections by covid since the pandemic began in 2020. And the head of the mobile employers gives for fact that coexistence with covid-19 will last for the next few years, so “we will deal with the effects”, which is why it has demanded more than ever “responsible leadership.” His reference to the Spanish authorities about a possible cancellation of the show carries another meaning: that of blurring their financial responsibilities for a possible cancellation of the event with just eight weeks left to open doors.
The words of the CEO of the GSMA also send a firm signal that there is no doubt about the celebration of the next Mobile to avoid, given the current circumstances of spread of the virus, that large technology companies announce losses that have a domino effect on the rest of the sector. For this reason, it was important that last December leading brands such as Google, Samsung and Ericsson confirmed their participation in what is considered the main world fair in its sector, which in its best times (three years ago) had gathered more 100,000 people in the Catalan capital.
In 2020, with the pandemic breaking into the world, it could not be celebrated in extremis. Last year it did so with a hybrid version in which around 20,000 basically local visitors coexisted – after passing antigen tests before entering the Fira pavilions – with the events. online. This year, the objective of the GSMA is to once again have international representation among visitors, in addition to exhibitors, and to turn the fair into the great business that it was. In his favor, he plays that vaccination levels have grown and that the covid passport can be used as an additional guarantee for participants. It remains to be seen whether a negative antigen test will also be required to validate access.
The head of the telephone employers’ association states in his open letter that in 2022 he will maintain the same model that he used in 2021, when he held the Shanghai, Los Angeles and Barcelona rooms “in close collaboration with the relevant authorities” so that it would be safe for all participants and offering updated information on the pandemic. It is that experience that, for Hoffman, is essential “to meet safely again in 2022” with the participation of more than 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 different countries.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.