53+) 12 Feb: Everybody. Everybody is not attending MWC2020.
UPDATE 12 Feb: Operators are now publicly pulling out. Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and BT have withdrawn. AT&T, Sprint, Viettel and Veon are more operators to have done so. Telefonica, nationally important, and Orange who like Vodafone also has in-country operations, are still undeclared.
One of the remaining “big” vendors, Nokia, has also gone today. As has Samsung Networks. This leaves Huawei and ZTE, Samsung and Qualcomm as the next largest exhibitors still standing. If you read the list below, you will see there is a growing group of smaller vendors also cancelling. TMN knows of several more who are about to cancel. Some are holding on in case the GSMA cancels for them.
It seems there is a GSMA board meeting taking place from 2pm CET to discuss next steps. This was pulled forward from its scheduled timing on Friday.
A seemingly well sourced report from Wired reports that, by now, the GSMA would like to cancel but it is in a bind. If it cancels, it owes exhibitors and ticket buyers a refund. And it seems that it may not be insured for such a cancellation, unless if can convince local authorities to declare a health emergency. If it has been “forced” to cancel, then it can trigger its insurance clause. That’s unconfirmed, of course.
List of non-attending companies
53) Feb 12: Telia: The group operator with operations across the Nordic and Baltic countries, and in Turkey and Moldova, is the latest to decide that, with regret, it doesn’t feel it can attend.
52) Feb 12: Rosenberger: The company, a hi-tech developer of antennas, feeders and RF coax, says that as a precaution it will not be attending. It had a booth booked in Hall 6.
51) Feb 12: STMicroelectronics: The company, with a 180 square metre rig in Hall 7, says it will not be exhibiting, but it will still be running an analyst and media event, run by its executive staff. STM is a close to $10 billion company by revenues, with 46,000 staff and a wide range of products in the embedded silicon space.
50) Feb 12: Infinera: A short statement from the packet optical and SDN company mirrors the thoughts of many as it says it is prioritising the health of its employees, customers and partners.
49) Feb 12: Adtran: The optical company with applications in the software defined edge and mobile backhaul will not be in Barcelona.
48) Feb 12: Netcracker: Two analysts tell me that OSS and telco software company Netcracker has circulated an email confirming its withdrawal. Netcracker is owned by NEC, which seems to still be attending.
47) 12 Feb: Aviat Networks: Another microwave and backhaul vendor, Aviat, confirms that it is withdrawing in an email to TMN.
46) 12 Feb: Macafee: Actually confirmed its withdrawal on the 11th but we missed it.
45) Feb 12: Intracom: The microwave and backhaul company has confirmed it will not be attending.
44) Feb 12: Veon: Light Reading says operator group Veon has informed it that it has withdrawn.
43) Feb 12: Vodafone. Vodafone tweets its regrets.
42) Feb 12: DT: The German giant pulls out.
41) Feb 12: BT: A BT statement says, “After careful discussions and planning, BT have decided that we will not attend GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2020.”
40) Feb 12: KMW: TMN has seen an email in which KWM – an original manufacturer of antennas, including those supporting Rakuten in its network rollout – says it is withdrawing.
39) Feb 12: Nokia: One of the ones that many were waiting for. Nokia put out a statement at 11am saying it is withdrawing. It had over 3,000 square metres in its Hall 3 stand. Like Ericsson, it plans to convert its planned exhibits and demos into a travelling live showcase for customers.
38) Feb 12: Samsung Networks: Note this is not all of Samsung, but the Networks business, which was scheduled to exhibit from a 440 square meter booth opposite the now-departed Ericsson in Hall 2, and now will not.
37) Feb 12: Marvell: Radio, edge and cloud processor developer, scheduled to exhibit in Hall 2 and to take part in 5G O-RAN demos with ARM, has pulled out. Confirmation from a spokesperson by email.
36) Feb 12: Siklu: The mmWave, high capacity, wireless link vendor will not attend. Confirmation from a spokesperson by email.
35) Feb 12: Viettel Group: The Vietnamese group operator is no longer listed on the exhibition plan or as an exhibitor.
34) Feb 22: Interop Technologies: The RCS and messaging company says it has cancelled. It had a 50 square metre booth in Hall 1.
UPDATE 11 Feb: Until this point this list has dealt only in confirmed fact. Here are some paragraphs that update on the situation so far that contain some necessarily greyer areas but do so to try and give a flavour of what we are hearing.
Spanish and Catalonian media outlets have reported two things, citing un-named sources. First, that a group of Tier One European operators – Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange and BT (and perhaps DT) – are in close contact to decide their approach and are very close to making a call one way or the other. The second is that the GSMA is making another decision on whether to go ahead on Friday, perhaps as part of a pre-scheduled board level meeting. There are no on-the-record sources in these reports.
TMN has been further told by two parties, neither that work within an operator but both with business relationships, that Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange are due to meet the Barcelona mayor to discuss how to proceed. The decision of Telefonica is seen as particularly vital. All of this is unconfirmed by any of the supposed parties to the meeting, so far, although we are seeking comment where we can.
As for the GSMA’s own supposed meeting on Friday, the organisation said, “We don’t comment on internal meetings.”
It’s true that the vast majority of exhibitors remain in the event. The most common official response we get from those still in the event is a variation on, “we are closely monitoring the situation but for now… business as usual.”
However on a more conversational level, TMN has been told by a succession of vendors that they are losing some arranged meetings as operator staff make the decision not to attend. That’s aside from any official announcement from operators. Partly as a result of this and partly to control any potential risk of attending, some vendors, whilst staying in the event, are sending or considering sending fewer staff than anticipated. This is anecdotal feedback – we haven’t seen spreadsheets with scratched meetings on them – but they are at least first hand anecdotes.
33) Feb 11: A10 Networks: Light Reading says it has an email from A10 confirming its cancellation. The company no longer appears in MWC Exhibitor listings.
32) Feb 11: Rakuten: The Japanese challenger, and the rising star of 2019’s MWC, says in an email it is not making the trip. Rakuten is one of those operators that also takes an exhibition stand – and was scheduled to occupy a 380 square metre stand in Hall 4, opposite the GSMA Innovation City.
30) Feb 11: Spirent: Another test and assurance company decides it is better not to make the trip. It had a 90 square metre stand in Hall 6.
29) Feb 11: AT&T: A second US tier one operator makes the decision not to boost those executive airmiles.
28) Feb 11: Sprint: Another operator withdrawal to add to NTT closing its exhibition space and Bouygues not attending. Light Reading has this confirmed.
27) Feb 11: Facebook: Cnet has the news that Facebook is withdrawing. TMN is still determining what this means for the Facebook-supported Telco Infra Project booth – which was due to have its exhibits in a newly acquired space in the entrance to Hall 5. We understand that Facebook is asking its partner companies on the stand if they still plan to exhibit.
26) Feb 11: Cisco: The US networking giant, which has just been in Barcelona for its own big partner and customer event, has decided not to double up and return for MWC. That’s another largish gap in Hall 3.
24 and 25) Feb 11: Helen Keegan writes in the comments section below that Lightico and Appsflyer, two companies not known to TMN, have also withdrawn.
23) Feb 11: Bouygues Telecom. The FT reports that French operator Bouygues has confirmed it will not attend. (Link needs subscription)
22) Feb 11: Ciena: The packet network and automation/orchestration company said it too was not attending. It had a 232 square metre stand arranged.
21) Feb 11: Vivo: This Catalonian news site site is carrying a statement from the device maker that it is not attending. The company’s booth had been showing as blank for a while in the MWC floorplan. TMN has also now received direct confirmation from Vivo that it has withdrawn.
20) Feb 11: Mediatek: The Taiwan chip company has emailed at least one analyst to say it won’t be attending. TMN is told the email said: “After careful assessment, MediaTek decided to withdraw from MWC Barcelona 2020 for employees, customers and partners’ health and safety concern.”
19) Feb 11: Intel: Intel has told Venturebeat that it is not going to Barcelona. The company always has a significant presence in Hall 3, and is usually involved in plenty of other demos, panels and speaking slots as well.
18) Feb 10: Radwin: TMN has seen an email from FWA and mobile backhaul microwave provider Radwin saying that it will not be attending. It had a smallish booth in Hall 1.
17) Feb 10: Interdigital: The US-based company that invests in developing and licensing advanced wireless technologies regrets that it feels unable to attend. A long-standing MWC exhibitor, the company had planned to show the fruits of some early 6G thinking on its 188 square metre stand.
16) 10 Feb: Accedian: The performance management and data analytics company announced that it too is withdrawing. It was all set to talk about assuring edge cloud and 5G deployments in the mobile network. Accedian would have had a presence in Hall 6.
15) 10 Feb: Dali Wireless puts up a statement saying it “does not feel comfortable sending its employees to a widely attended international event.” The vRAN and distributed radio company was not exhibiting. It told TMN that it had a meeting room booked and was intending to send five people to the event.
14) 10 Feb: F5 Networks tells Light Reading that it will not be attending the event. The company had 63 square metres in Hall 5.
13) 10 Feb: Sun Global Broadband, Hawaii. See comment from the CEO in the comments section below.
12) 10 Feb: Amdocs: The BSS to OSS software giant, which was set to make a splash with new solutions in network slicing management and orchestration, among other areas, said the “safest option” is not to attend. Its stand in Hall 3 was 540 square metres.
11) 10 Feb: CommScope: The antenna, base station technology, small cells and WiFi company said that “it had not been an easy decision” to pull out.
It continued: “Although the likelihood of contracting the virus is low, we will not risk the health of our employees, nor the business impact that would result if a quarantine were ordered.” That final point introduced an added element of risk management companies have to consider. What if attending staff are subsequently quarantined?
CommScope’s said that it would be exploring virtual exhibition options to showcase its technology. The company, which turned over just north of a billion dollars for its last financial year and includes recent acquisitions Arris and Ruckus, had a 260 square metre stand booked in Hall 2.
10) 10 Feb: NTT DoCoMo: The Tier One Japanese operator said that it would be pulling out of its exhibition space. It has a sizeable booth of 872 square metres in Hall 3. This makes DoCoMo the first operator to take an official stance. It’s not yet certain from this short announcement if the company is withdrawing all staff from attendance, or just taking the decision not to run its exhibits.
9) 10 Feb: Panorama Software: This Israeli-Canadian data and network analytics company said it would be staying away, and would rather see the GSMA host an online event.
8) 10 Feb: Coosea Group: A spokesperson emails: “Due to the new GSMA rule, we made the decision to withdraw from MWC2020”. The Chinese manufacturer was due to attend under the trading name Sichuan koobee. It tells me Coosea Group is a “Top 5 Mobile Phone ODM Company with global reputation”.
7) 10 Feb: Umidigi: Chinese company UMIDIGI, a maker of affordable smartphones expanding into global markets, said in a LinkedIn post that it would not be attending. The new GSMA rules (see 09 Feb update below) that all “travellers to China” must have had two weeks outside the country prior to the event seem to have been the reason for the decision.
It effectively means that Chinese companies that a) do not have European staff they can deploy and b) have not already moved China-based staff out of the country, cannot attend.
6) 10 Feb: Sony: A Sony statement said it had made the “difficult decison” to withdraw. It will present its planned press conference as a webcast instead. The company had a 1,744 square metre stand booked – that’s the same size as Samsung and Qualcomm and bigger than ZTE’s. Only Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia were due to have more space on the floor.
09 Feb: New GSMA statement. The GSMA has updated several status statements since late January. The latest states that despite withdrawals, the event is still on. Travellers from Hubei province will be refused entry.
“All travellers who have been in China will need to demonstrate proof they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event.”
“Today, the GSMA is moving ahead as planned and will host MWC Barcelona 24-27 February 2020.”
“While further planning is underway, we will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our plans according to developments and advice we receive. We are contending with a constantly evolving situation, that will require fast adaptability.”
5) 09 Feb: Amazon. A statement to TMN from an Amazon Web Services spokesperson says: “Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.” Amazon’s exhibition floor presence would have been limited – it has booked mainly meeting rooms – but it would also have been supporting partners in cloud telco-land with demos and the like.
4) 08 February: Viavi Solutions. The test and measurement company emails journalists to say it is withdrawing. TMN understands the company would have taken 50 people to the event. It published a statement the following day, stating that the company will seek alternative means to “showcase its portfolio”.
2) 07 February: Ericsson. The company – widely reckoned to be the second largest exhibitor at the event with a stand of over 6,000 square metres – writes that it is not taking the risk. It says it will create a series of regional events for partners and customers to show off the demos it had planned.
1) 05 February: LG. The South Korean company is the first to make the break.
Thanks for the comments: We have a received a few “tips” in the comments, but we cannot publish them until we have received official confirmation directly from the company concerned, or there is a public statement.