BERLIN (Reuters) – an event designed to showcase the power of telecommunications, and the cancellation of this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, without a back-up plan, has stunned many in the trillion-dollar industry.
A man is driving to the apartments in Barcelona following the Mobile World Congress (MWC), was cancelled in Barcelona, Spain, February 13, by the year 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Wednesday’s decision to call it off, the telecom industry’s largest annual gathering, over fears of a corona virus, which has yet to be reached in the Spanish peninsula, it has left a hole in the marketing budget and getting a $500 million blow to the local economy.
It has also raised questions about whether the four-day event, for which he had 110,000 visitors last year, it has become too big for its own good, and while there is a lack of an ability to make use of the very communications technology that has been designed in order to highlight it.
Sony ericsson and Nokia, and said that after pulling out of the case, that she was going to keep track of the product launch online, as South korea’s Samsung Electronics has presented a new foldable phone, on a separate event in San Francisco last week.
The crisis began eight days ago, when South Korea’s LG Electronics was the first company to be able to react quickly enough, which led to a wave of flight cancellations.
“The whole idea is that we have tens of thousands of people to get to know one another, go out of the window,” Mike Rosenberg, an associate professor at the IESE business school in Barcelona, and the decision to cancel the February event.
Rosenberg, who specializes in crisis, as a strategy, and scenario planning, he said, China is still confronted with the worst of the corona virus outbreak in the GSMA’s next major conference to be held in Shanghai this summer, it could also be at risk.
The Chinese province is in the center of the corona virus disease outbreak is reported, a record increase in the number of deaths, and thousands of more cases on Thursday, a new diagnostic method, by the raising of fresh questions about the extent of the crisis.
Spain has so far only been reported for two of the feline corona virus cases, one of the Canary Islands, off north-west Africa, and the Mediterranean island of Mallorca.
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As for the main exhibitors will be able to bear the cost of the hundreds of smaller companies, for whom the CONGRESS is a major event in their marketing plans may think twice about returning, analysts said.
“Now, they face the challenge of having to figure out what is the best way to save something,” Ben Wood, chief of research for the consultants at CCS Insight, said.
In a show of unity, the GSMA’s leadership, held a joint press conference with the local leaders Thursday vowing to work to set the stage for next year’s edition of the event, which was held in Barcelona since 2006.
However, the managing Director Mats Granryd, faced with tough questions from reporters after delivering an assurance that will the GSMA will take on behalf of the exhibitor does not provide cover for an event such as the corona virus outbreak.
“It is clear that there is no way you can be sure that they have a force majeure situation,” Granryd said.
Ramon Fernandez, chief financial officer of French operator Orange, has said the cancellation “is going to cost a bit of money, but if it’s going to cost a bit of money to all those people who were going to deal with it.
“We will have to find a way to continue the dialogue,” he added. “Well, some of those who were going to have to write to you to say,” Let’s meet in Paris because we will not be able to see each other in Barcelona, spain.’ Calendars fill up very quickly.”
Communication of the decision will also be tested with the GSMA’s public relations machine. Even if the cancellation occurred, and talk circulated on Wednesday that the decision to cancel was imminent, the GSMA has yet to send out media invitations, and more.
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The final blow came when a European telecom companies, which are at the core of the membership is allocated as one block, which the GSMA has to bow to the inevitable.
Granryd told staff in an e-mail that he was “deeply saddened”.
“It’s a team work, due to the crisis, based on facts and took the appropriate action and communication, both internally as well as externally, in real-time.”
Additional reporting by Jordi Rubio and Ponzo, Barcelona, Isla Binnie in Madrid and Mathieu Rosemain in Paris; Editing by Alexander Smith