Hoffman confirms MWC will be held in June

The organizer maintains the congress in person despite the cancellations of some of the major exhibitors

2 min
GSMA CEO John Hoffman in a 2020 image.

John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA, the organiser of the Mobile World Congress, confirmed on Thursday that this year's Mobile World Congress will be held in Barcelona from 28 June to 1 July.

The GSMA executive has assured that the meeting will take place as planned, despite the wave of cancellations of some of the main participating companies in recent months. "Twelve weeks to go until MWC2021. See you there!" said Hoffman in an email to event participants.

After the 2020 face-to-face event was cancelled due to the avalanche of participant withdrawals because of the growing covid-19 pandemic, GSMA and the Catalan public administrations want this year's edition to be held, even if it is with a lower number of visitors than in past congresses. However, in early March there was a trickle of cancellations by some of the companies that had initially confirmed their presence at the 2021 event.

Sweden's Ericsson was the first to announce that it would not be taking part in the MWC on 9 March, followed by other telecommunications and internet giants such as Microsoft, Facebook, Sony, Nokia, Cisco, Oracle, British Telecom, Google and Intel. Faced with this situation, the organisers set the end of March as the deadline to decide whether to cancel the edition again or make it completely virtual, whether to postpone it until the autumn or to stick to the planned dates. Hoffman's message confirms the latter option, which was the one the executive himself had advocated since the announcement of further cancellations.

"We know that not everyone will be able to participate in person and there is no problem, because we will augment the physical event with our virtual programming to bring you the content of the event," Hoffman said in the message. The executive said he was "excited" and "hopeful" to be able to "convene our entire ecosystem" in a new edition of MWC.

Facilities for participants

Hoffman's message comes the day after the Spanish government announced that it will make it easier for foreign conference attendees to come to Barcelona to attend MWC, despite the restrictions on movement to third countries imposed by the pandemic. A few days ago, the GSMA announced a 27% reduction in the price of conference passes.