After nearly two years of the pandemic, we all recognize the dominoes when they start to fall. With concerns increasing about the Omicron variant of Covid-19, companies are starting to pull out of the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Today in an email to Fierce, AT&T said, “The health and safety of our employees and customers is a top priority, so we have decided to forego in-person participation at CES 2022.”
AT&T’s statement follows a similar announcement from T-Mobile yesterday. T-Mobile said that its CEO Mike Sievert would no longer be delivering a keynote in-person or virtually at CES. And the carrier is also “significantly” limiting its in-person participation at the event.
“While we are confident that CES organizers are taking exhaustive measures to protect in-person attendees, and we had many preventative practices in place as well, we are prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees with this decision,” said the company in a statement.
T-Mobile will continue to serve as a CES sponsor and title sponsor of the DRL Championship Race but the vast majority of its team will not be traveling to Las Vegas.
CES still plans to hold its annual event in Las Vegas, January 5-8, 2022, even as big-name companies have made the decision to not attend.
Amazon, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and Twitter have all said they will no longer attend, citing health concerns about Covid.
In addition, some tech-focused news outlets have also said they won’t have an in-person presence at CES, including CNET, The Verge, CNN, Engadget and TechRadar.
CES organizers are trying to keep their chins up. In a press release yesterday, the group said it will host a record number of U.S. senators at the upcoming show. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) will lead a panel of senators, featuring Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). They will discuss key tech policy issues for 2022 on Friday, January 7.
All in-person attendees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to pick up a badge at the conference.
Verizon has not responded to a request for comment about its level of participation in this year’s CES.
Last year’s event was fully virtual, and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg had a prominent role as a keynote speaker. Vestberg talked a lot about mobile edge computing in Verizon’s 5G network.