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Ericsson, LG withdraw from Mobile World Congress 2020

On February 5, LG Electronics said it had decided to withdraw from MWC2020.

Swedish telecom gear-maker Ericsson has withdrawn from the telecom industry event Mobile World Congress 2020 (MWC 2020), citing the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (nCov).

This follows a similar move by South Korea’s LG Electronics, while Chinese telecom gear manufacturer ZTE Corp rubbished reports that it had dropped out of the world’s largest telecom event.

“After an extensive internal risk assessment, Ericsson has decided to take further precautionary measures by withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020, the largest event in the telecom industry,” Ericsson said in a statement.

“Ericsson appreciates that GSMA have done everything it can to control the risk. However, as one of the largest exhibitors, Ericsson has thousands of visitors in its hall each day and even if the risk is low, the company cannot guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors,” it said.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, said: “The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly”.

“It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event,” Ekholm added.

To showcase its portfolio and innovations, Ericsson will take the demos and content created for MWC Barcelona to customers in their home markets with local events called ‘Ericsson Unboxed’.

On February 5, LG Electronics said it had decided to withdraw from MWC2020.

“LG Electronics is closely monitoring the situation related to the NCov outbreak, which was recently declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization as the virus continues to spread outside China,” it said.

“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,” it said, adding, LG will hold separate events in the near future to announce its 2020 mobile products.

Dismissing certain media reports that said ZTE Corp has dropped out of the event following the nCov outbreak, the Chinese company said it will showcase a series of new 5G terminal devices at MWC 2020.

The GSM Association (GSMA), the organisers of MWC, the largest telecom event in the world, said it had outlined extensive plans to counter concerns and mitigate the risk of the spread of nCov outbreak at MWC Barcelona.

It also said that the impact this far as “minimal” and pointed to a wide range of measures in place to protect attendees during the event, taking place in Barcelona, Spain, from February 24-27 this year.