The COVID-19 pandemic has put the kibosh on yet another live event, this time the MWC Los Angeles 2020 event that was supposed to happen October 28-30.
The event was still scheduled to take place as of late last week, but the GSMA announced on Monday that’s no longer the case.
It’s the third major event cancellation for the GSMA. The association canceled MWC Barcelona that was scheduled for February, and it scratched MWC Shanghai 2020 that was planned for this summer.
“Last February, in recognition of emerging global circumstances hosting MWC Barcelona, was impossible,” said GSMA Limited CEO John Hoffman in a statement. “Today, in light of current government guidance, continued global concern regarding the spread and containment of COVID-19, travel restrictions and other circumstances, and in consultation with our partner, CTIA, the GSMA announced that continuing with MWC Los Angeles 2020 is likewise, impossible.”
The MWC Los Angeles event has been held for just three years and attracts a significantly smaller crowd than the Barcelona show; it replaced what was the long-running CTIA show.
Ericsson, which was the first big vendor to announce it would not participate in MWC Barcelona, confirmed to FierceWireless last week that it was not going to have a physical presence at MWC Los Angeles. The Swedish vendor was arguably one of the largest exhibitors at the LA event.
Last week, the GSMA announced the launch of the GSMA Thrive series, with the inaugural GSMA Thrive China event taking place online June 30 – July 2, which is when MWC Shanghai was to take place. The keynote and online sessions are being offered free of charge. Executives from China Mobile, China Telecom, Huawei, Qualcomm, Telstra and more are participating.
It’s been a tough year for the GSMA. According to Bloomberg, MWC Barcelona accounts for as much as 80% of the organization’s annual revenue. In addition to reducing 20% of its staff, the report said GSMA has also taken cost-cutting measures like reducing bonus payouts, and slimming down budgets and non-staff spending for the current year by around 40%.
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At last check, CES was still holding its in-person event in Las Vegas in January, although how it will manage to socially distance in venues that typically see people shoulder-to-shoulder is unknown. According to the show's website, measures will be taken to enable better social distancing, including wider aisles in many exhibit areas and more space between seats in conference programs and other areas where attendees congregate.